Richard Barker steps down as QRU CEO

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

QRU CEO Richard Barker has stepped down, effective immediately.

It's understood Barker told Reds coaches of his decision after their loss to the Waratahs on Saturday night, informing players and QRU staff on Monday morning.

QRU COO David Hanham will step into the top job in Barker's place, with the search for a new CEO now on.

QRU chairman Jeff Miller thanked Barker for the two years he spent in charge and wished him the best moving forward.

"Richard and I have been discussing the QRU’s future requirements for a couple of months, given the changes that he has implemented here over the past two years.Richard Barker's time at the Reds has come to an end. Photo: Supplied"On behalf of the QRU board, I thank Richard for his significant contribution to the ongoing health of the code in Queensland.

"We wish Richard and his family the very best in the coming months and years."

Barker, who oversaw a $22,263 profit for the cash strapped club in the past financial year, asked fans of the club to back coach Brad Thorn as the Reds rebuild with a young list.

"On the professional rugby side, Brad is leading this young group through his actions and sets standards that this organisation will reap the benefits of in the years to come and I ask that we back him and continue to support him," Barker said.Barker asked Reds fans to back Brad Thorn. Photo: Getty ImagesThe decision to step down will allow Barker to spend more time with his wife Tracey, who is battling terminal cancer.

"Those who know me well, know there’s a bit going on my life right now aside from rugby," Barker said.

"Rugby is incredibly important to people in this state.

"The organisation has worked hard to ensure that game continues to grow and is enjoyed by all Queenslanders.

"I acknowledge the wonderful work done by the hardworking staff of the QRU and by the enormous group of volunteers who provide opportunities for girls and boys to play rugby in this state."