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Dragons statement: David Buttress steps down as chairman

By Liam Heagney
Dragons' Rio Dyer walks through an Oyannax guard of honour (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

United Rugby Championship strugglers Dragons have announced some administrative changes, including the end of David Buttress’ seven-year stint as chairman at the Welsh franchise. This vacancy will be filled by co-owner David Wright, but no replacement was named for the position of CEO with interim boss Graeme Bradbury set to step down at the end of the season.

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Dragons are currently 15th in the 16-team URC with three rounds of matches remaining. They are one point ahead of bottom club Zebre Parma, and just one point behind Welsh rivals Scarlets after three wins in 15 matches.

A statement read: “Dragons RFC have announced that David Buttress, who has served as chairman since 2017, will be stepping down from his role later this year. David has led the club over the last seven seasons, taking on a pivotal role in Welsh rugby and being a key figure as the club was successfully taken into private ownership in August 2023.

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Documentary – ‘The Dragons Lair’

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Documentary – ‘The Dragons Lair’

“The former Just Eat chief executive and co-founder, who is from Cwmbran, will remain on the board as a non-executive director and a major part of the ownership team. Following David’s appointment as chief executive officer of leading energy business Ovo, David has decided now is the right time for the club to go forward under new chairmanship.

“Dragons RFC are pleased to announce that board member and co-owner David Wright will be the club’s new chairman from July 1. The club have also announced that interim CEO Graeme Bradbury will be stepping down at the of the current season. His successor will be announced in due course.”

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Buttress said: “It’s been a great privilege to be chairman over the last seven seasons, but taking into consideration my other new commitments, this is the right time for us to make this decision. I would stress to our supporters, players, and staff that my commitment and passion for rugby in Gwent and Dragons RFC remains as steadfast as ever and I will continue to be a passionate owner.

“It has been an enormously challenging, but also a rewarding role and I have loved nearly every minute of it. I will continue, as owner and board member, to push our club forward, build on what we have achieved in securing the club and Rodney Parade’s future, and map out a bright future alongside our incredible staff, players, coaches, and supporters.

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“My congratulations to David Wright. I can think of no better person, as he leads us as our new chairman and takes the club into the next exciting chapter of Welsh rugby.

“Graeme was integral in bringing the current ownership group together and diligently worked alongside me to ensure that we could achieve the goal of taking Dragons RFC back into private hands from WRU ownership,” Buttress continued.

“Once the takeover was complete, Graeme was asked by the ownership group to steer Dragons RFC through to the end of the season, giving us the time to thoroughly assess the changes needed to make Dragons RFC a successful business. I would like to put on record my thanks to Graeme for his unstinting hard work, leadership, and friendship over the last number of years, and wish him well for the future.”

New chairman David Wright said: “It is a huge personal honour for me to take on the role and my thanks go to David for his unwavering commitment throughout his time as chairman and the huge impact he has made on our club.

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“We are working tirelessly to make sure that the Dragons are successful, on and off the field, and I am confident that we will continue to drive change to set the club up to compete in the long term.”

Bradbury added: “It has been an honour to represent the ownership group, hard-working Rodney Parade staff, the coaches, and the players as CEO during this season.

“I’m proud to have been asked to oversee such an important period of the club’s journey, and look forward to handing over the reins, firmly believing that I leave the business in a stronger position than we found it.”

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