The Cornish Pirates can confirm that Rebecca Thomas will step down from her role as CEO/financedirector at the end of this season but will remain on the board as a director in an advisory capacity going forward.

Rebecca first joined the Cornish Pirates back in 2010 when she relocated back to Cornwall from Newcastle, where she trained as a chartered accountant with Deloitte and began her post-audit career in industry.

During her time at the club, she has stepped in and covered most roles. From finance, commercial partnerships, hospitality, social media/website, team manager and club shop, it was this vast amount of experience and knowledge that led to her becoming CEO four years ago. 

During this time in post, she has navigated the club through COVID and the years following, including the most recent uncertainty around the future of the Championship and direction of travel for the future of rugby. 

Always with a friendly face and can-do attitude, Rebecca has been a stalwart of the club over the past 14 seasons and will be a huge loss, a reason why we are delighted that she is able to remain on the board going forward with her experience and knowledge in an advisory role.

Becki commented: “This club has been much more than a job to me, it has been my life, passion, and family for such a long time. My children have been born and raised during my time here and the club and people will always be so special to us. 

“The decision has not been an easy one, it is going to be very strange not being a part of the day-to-day and I will miss it terribly, but it is time for a new challenge for me professionally and I am looking forward to what the future holds. 

“I have worked with some incredible people during my time with the club and made friends for life, but heartfelt thanks must go to Dicky Evans for the journey of a lifetime. 

“Fourteen years ago, I never would have imagined what would follow after a 30-minute ‘interview’ with him over coffee, but his unwavering support, faith and mentoring has made me the person I am today, and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had to develop myself and my skillset in a world that I absolutely love, rugby.

“It would also not have been possible without the fantastic staff, players, coaches, volunteers, sponsors, supporters, and mentors along the way, and I thank each and every one. 

“There have been some incredible highs and some tough lows, that’s the world of professional sport, and it’s been a real privilege to have played such a part in the history of this fantastic club and brand. 

“This isn’t goodbye, I am delighted to remain on the board and continue to support the future of the club, and I will continue to champion the Cornish Pirates, Cornish rugby and the sport as a whole with a huge passion for the development of the game from age groups up to the top.”

Chairman Paul Durkin added: “Becki helped me to get to know what makes this great club tick from the day I took over as chairman nearly eight years ago. I have seen her grow into the terrific financedirector and then CEO which she is and at which both she has excelled.  

“She also does a lot more behind the scenes of which many are unaware. Her hard work and dedication through some of the most difficult times has made my life and that of the board easier. 

“Personally, I will miss her huge support on the day-to-day running of the club and am extremely thankful that we will retain her knowledge and experience on the board. I understand the need to move on to new things in her career and wish her every success, which I am sure she will achieve.”

With reference to this news Dicky Evans (Sir Richard Evans) also said: “This was the end of an era for the Cornish Pirates, a period that Rebecca has been instrumental totally in managing very well. No question of dodgy budgets or lack of financial controls that could see the Pirates go the same way as other clubs, into receivership.

“Throughout the 14 years she has been a pleasure to deal with, always got a smile on her face as she negotiated the rigours of dealing with a rugby union that is desperately lacking in organisation as far as Championship clubs are concerned. They cut the budgets badly, giving a pathetic excuse for the same move, but Rebecca held her ground and, with Martin Hudson and myself backing her decision making, we went through that debacle, followed by COVID restrictions, like a ship under full sale.

“She leaves the club at a time where we are still negotiating our way ahead, with the sunset funds running out next season. She remains a key adviser by staying on the board of the Pirates where no doubt she will ask all the right questions with her experience of the club's finances.

“Rebecca will be a very difficult act to follow, but she leaves the club running second in the league with high hopes for the future in terms of new investors and new facilities at the Mennaye. I will be particularly sad when she departs the role in June, by which time we hope to have some long overdue clarity on the future of the second division in rugby in England.”

Dicky also commented: “I wish her all the very best in her new job where I'm sure she will make the best decisions for the company she works for, and I hope to see her at home games in hospitality, putting her feet up and enjoying the game.

“Our weekly meetings held with her and the two head coaches, Gavin (Cattle) and Alan (Paver), won't be the same without you, young lady, that's for sure.”