Crusaders chairman steps down




Crusaders chairman Bob Stewart will direct his last meeting as head of the franchise board on Wednesday.

The Supervalue supermarket proprietor is standing down to focus on business interests.

“This was not a decision taken lightly,” Stewart told the Crusaders official website of his move to step aside, “but the time is right. There are other challenges and opportunities around the corner, so I guess this is one of the few times that the Head has ruled the Heart.”

A stalwart of the Albion club, whom he represented as a winger and fullback through the 1970s, where his contribution was significant for his then relatively rare around the corner goal-kicking style, Stewart later contributed off the field through administration.

He first managed the Canterbury side on the 1994 Development tour of Argentina, and remained involved in an administrative capacity in the representative arena until finishing with the Canterbury Air New Zealand NPC side at the conclusion of the 1998 campaign, after three years in the role.

A member of the Canterbury Rugby Union board from 1996, Stewart joined the Crusaders board in 1999, becoming its chairman in 2003.

In that capacity, he worked closely alongside the Crusaders team management, and the franchise chief executive Hamish Riach.

Stewart was also one of the driving forces behind the creation of the High Performance leadership position, and the appointment of former Crusaders player Steve Lancaster to that post.

The acquisition of Lancaster has helped to ease the organization burden on the chief executive and chairman.

Crusaders coach Robbie Deans hailed the contribution of Stewart and his wife Rose to the team’s cause, saying their level of support was outstanding.

“Everyone within the organization has contributed to all that we have achieved as a team, and Bob has played a big part in all that,” Deans says.

“His record speaks for itself. He leaves the board having helped to pave the way forward for the franchise.”

Stewart departs confident that the future is bright for the Crusaders, with some exciting opportunities ahead.

“Much progress has been made. Fundamentally the Crusaders are in very good shape through the strength of leadership, quality of its people, and clarity of values,” Stewart says.

“For my part, I wish to thank everyone involved in the Crusaders for the support, loyalty, hard work, friendship, and great times celebrating! I would also like to thank the fans for the tremendous support that they have offered the Crusaders through the years. Long may it continue.”

Stewart wishes to pay a special tribute to the Crusaders team itself, and the team management.

“It has been a great experience to be involved, as a board member, with the team and the players,” he says.

“We have always felt welcome and have had a strong sense of belonging within a great organisation. Crusade on!”


365 Digital

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