Both appointments will undertake a thorough induction and hand over before formally taking on their new roles from 1 August when the current post holders’ term come to an end. The appointments are to be put for final ratification by the member clubs at the RFU’s AGM in June.
Tom Ilube CBE has had a 30-year career in the UK technology sector including roles at PwC, Goldman Sachs and the London Stock Exchange. He was Chief Information Officer at Egg Banking plc, the UK’s first internet bank, founded venture capital backed tech start up Garlik which was acquired by Experian and was an MD of private equity backed Callcredit (now TransUnion). In 2014 Tom founded Crossword Cybersecurity Plc where he remains CEO of the AIM London Stock Exchange listed company.
Tom was the Founding Chair of Hammersmith Academy, the UK’s first digital and creative media academy, and has been a Governor of several secondary schools from Darwen in Lancashire to Brighton in Sussex. He is also Chair of the African Science Academy, Africa’s leading all girls science and technology school.
Tom has been a Non-Executive Director of the BBC since 2017. He is a Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford and Jesus College, Oxford. In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to technology and to philanthropy and he became a Non-Executive Director of FTSE100 global advertising agency WPP plc in 2020.
A keen rugby enthusiast Tom commented: “My rugby career started on the pitches of Teddington School and London Welsh rugby club back in the early 70s. Although my professional career has taken me in different directions, thanks to my son who was part of the Wasps Academy before moving on to represent his university, I have had the pleasure of being involved in the community game for the past 15 years.
“I’m a passionate fan of both England Rugby and the community game and am honoured to be joining the RFU at such a pivotal time for the game. Our immediate priority after such a challenging year in lockdown will be to ensure we do everything we can to maintain and grow participation across all levels of the game.”
Polly Williams is a qualified chartered accountant who spent five years as a Partner at KPMG. She is an experienced board member and is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee at Jupiter Asset Management, Chair of the Audit Committee at TSB Banking Group and a Senior Independent Director at The Royal Bank of Canada Europe. Outside of the financial services sector she is a Non-Executive Director of XP Power Limited and a Trustee for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
Polly was a keen rugby player during her time at university, she also spent 14 years as a Governor at Rugby School, most latterly as Deputy Chair. As a Twickenham Stadium debenture holder she is a firm England fan. Speaking about her appointment she said: “I’m excited to be joining the RFU ahead of a World Cup year for the Red Roses in New Zealand and with the challenges of getting the game back up and running fully next season. We have a lot to do and to look forward to.”
The recruitment process for these two positions was led by Dominic Proctor, Senior Independent Director of the RFU and Chair of the Board Nominations Committee, he said: “We were delighted by the volume and exceptional quality of the applications for both of these positions. The level of interest was a testament to the role rugby plays in communities across the length and breadth of England.
“I would like to thank the four Council members who were part of this thorough recruitment process and the Council for their full support in endorsing these appointments. The Board is very much looking forward to Polly and Tom joining and I’m sure they will provide a valuable contribution to the growth of rugby in England in the years ahead.”