Brent Impey has confirmed that he will step down as chairman of New Zealand Rugby in the coming months.
It is understood that Impey, who has been chairman for seven years, advised the board late last year of his intention to step aside.
The succession plan for the role of chairman is underway with an official announcement expected later this year.
The Herald understands Impey is not expected to stand down before the next NZ Rugby board meeting in April.
Impey has been on the board of NZ Rugby since 2012 and his departure will be a huge change at the top of the rugby governing body during a difficult financial period.
In July last year, Impey confirmed he was diagnosed with cancer and has received chemotherapy treatment. He has still been heavily involved in his role of NZ Rugby chairman and is confident of a full recovery.
“I’m feeling very positive. The specialist advice is this is curable,” Impey told the Herald last July. “I was told that if you are going to get a cancer this is one of the best to get.
“I’m not planning on taking on any time off – in fact it’s the reverse … It’s important to keep physically and mentally active. Having all these issues within rugby at the moment is a welcome distraction.”
Impey has overseen a turbulent period with NZ Rugby due to the Covid-19 pandemic and stepped down from his role of chairman of Sanzaar in November after friction around the future of Super Rugby.
Along with NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson, Impey has been at the centre of New Zealand’s new Super Rugby structure for next year and beyond that involved the significant breakaway from South Africa and Argentina.
“In my view it is time for Sanzaar to make some fundamental changes which are best placed to happen under an independent chair,” Impey said after he resigned as Sanzaar chairman last November.
“While there was no imperative for change it was appropriate to rotate the role, however I now believe that the role of chair of a national union as well as chair of Sanzaar is a conflict for any country.”
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