Mariana Pexton appointed new chair of Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Following the Annual General Meeting, Leeds Rhinos Foundation has announced some significant changes to its board of trustees. With the agreed introduction of terms of tenure, long-standing trustees Gary Hetherington and Peter Hirst have stood down from the board by rotation.

Hetherington, who set up the charity in 2005, has been made Life President of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, a role previously occupied by the late David Oxley, its inaugural chair.

Speaking about his new role Hetherington said: “Rugby League Development is a passion of mine and the LRF does a sterling job throughout the City, not only with Rugby League but other sports too and they really do achieve their goal to change lives through sport.  I am very honoured to accept this role and follow in the footsteps of the late David Oxley, who made such a valuable contribution.”

Peter Hirst, who has acted as treasurer and company secretary over the last 17 years has been made a vice president of the charity in recognition of his outstanding service. In a further change, Phil Caplan’s term as chair of the board of trustees has ended after six years, passing on the role to Mariana Pexton will now step up from deputy to become the organisation’s first female chair.  Caplan will stay on for a further year’s term as a trustee to aid with the transition

Commenting on the announcement, Caplan said: “On the back of a complete governance overhaul, including and enhancing the need for divergent thinking, it is a perfect time to hand the baton on to Mariana. It has been one of the most rewarding roles of my life and made so by it being a complete team effort between the board, senior management and staff. The Foundation is in a great position to capitalise on the work done to bring it even more in line with its aims and objectives, and I’ve no doubt Mariana will take it to the next level.”

Pexton added: “I am delighted to take on chair of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, to build on the great work that has been done and deliver the next set of ambitions to change lives through the power of sport. Working with all the Rhinos family, the charity already makes a big differences to communities in the city, and we will be looking to expand our reach in the future to impact on people who face the biggest barriers to participation, for example because of poverty or inequality, gender or disability.”