New Zealand Rugby's board will undergo significant change next week as Sir Michael Jones has opted not to stand for re-election.
Brent Impey, having announced earlier this year that he is stepping down as chair, has opted to stay on as a director to see out the last year of his term and effectively mentor his replacement.
A decision is still pending about whether to retain or replace existing board member Richard Dellabarca, who is now competing against at least two other candidates for the last of the three contestable appointed positions.
NZR's nine-strong board comprises three members who are elected by the provinces; three nominated members and three appointed members who effectively apply.
The nominated and appointed candidates are assessed and chosen by the Appointments and Remuneration Committee which operates at a distance to the NZR board.
Former All Black Jones was elected to the NZR board in 2018 when he was chosen ahead of former Labour MP Annette King, but after three years of service, he cited increased work commitments as the main factor in his decision to not seek re-election.
His place as an elected member will now be filled by either Basketball NZ chief executive Iain Potter or former Northland Rugby Union chairman, Ajit Balasingham, by a provincial union vote which will be decided at New Zealand Rugby's annual general meeting on April 29.
Jones is the only NZR board member who identifies as Pasifika and he's been a strong voice to bring Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua into Super Rugby next year.
With Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua both having been granted conditional Super Rugby licences, it has created a yet stronger need for the NZR board to have a Pasifika advocate.
The ARC will announce the successful appointed candidate at the AGM and it is believed Dellabarca and two others are on the shortlist.
These various changes to the board will be made at one of the most critical junctures in New Zealand Rugby history with the provincial unions voting on whether the national body should sell a stake in its commercial assets to US tech giant Silver Lake Partners.
The deal will change the landscape of rugby forever and put increased pressure on the NZR board to manage and understand their new relationship with Silver Lake.
Dellabarca, who joined the board in 2015, has extensive experience in venture capital and investment banking – skills also considered vital in the current climate.
Impey, who has also been instrumental in leading the discussions with Silver Lake, says he chose to retain his seat on the board so he can be on hand to help the new chair in what is likely to be a tough baptism given the scale of the proposed change.
"I have to stand down as a director in April 2022 and I am a believer in succession planning," he says.
"You have got to live by your values so my primary reason for standing down is to assist whoever the new chair is in my last year as a director. I'll have been the chair for seven years which I think is a reasonable stint."
Once the new board has been formed, it will meet to discuss and then elect a new chair to replace Impey.
It is understood that it is almost certain that the new chair will be an existing board member.