Tony Hewitt - Saints' new chairman © www.atsportphoto.com
Club News Saints confirm new chairman, deputy chairman and president
Northampton Saints this evening announced that Tony Hewitt has been confirmed as the club’s new chairman at the shareholders’ Annual General Meeting.
Tony Hewitt has been involved with Northampton Saints for 25 years, joining the board of directors when the game turned professional in 1995. He played a leading role in the development of Franklin’s Gardens and the initial public share offering of Northampton Saints plc in 2001. Hewitt has over 40 years’ experience in the commercial property market and holds a number of non-executive appointments.
He became vice-chairman in 2011, stepping up to be acting chairman in early-June when the late Leon Barwell stepped down from the position.
Also confirmed was the appointment of John White as deputy chairman, and Keith Barwell OBE as the club’s president.
John White joined the board of directors in November 2012. A life-long supporter of the Saints, he pulled on the black, green and gold in the late-1970s before injury ended his rugby playing days. White was group chairman and group chief executive of Persimmon Homes for 18 years before retiring from the board in 2011. His business acumen is reflected in Persimmon’s growth in that period from a turnover of £140 million to one in excess of £3 billion.
Without Keith Barwell the Saints would not be the club that it is today. An initial investment in 1995, followed by further investment in the late 1990s, helped with the transition to professionalism, while the legacy that he created is reflected in the belief that a successful rugby team and state-of-the-art stadium can both be built while also maintaining long-term financial stability, profitability and Saints ethos – that of being a club that is both proud of its history but is also committed on bringing success to Northampton and retaining its place at the heart of the town’s community.
Chairman of the Saints for 16 years, Barwell was awarded an OBE in 2009 for his services to Northampton. After stepping down as chairman in 2011, Barwell remained on the board of directors, a role he will now be combining as president.
Hewitt said he was honoured to have been confirmed as chairman.
“Over the last 18 years first Keith, and then Leon, have set a very high standard as to what it means to be chairman of Northampton Saints,” he said. “Without the Barwells’ investment, vision and hard work the Saints would not be where we are, and they are a hard act to follow. We are now in the enviable position where we are matching playing success with consistent profitability, and this stems from the foundations that the Barwells laid two decades ago.
“It is important that we continue balancing the need to maintain that profitability, which enables us to invest in the playing squad and challenge for the silverware at the end of the season, with retaining the unique ethos that makes the Saints such a special club.
“The Saints is a great club that means a great deal to a good many people, and I feel very privileged and honoured to be named as chairman. It is certainly a massive responsibility and I am committed to maintaining our record of investment and growth, while also continuing open communications with our supporters. They are a vital element of the club – the atmosphere created on match days makes Franklin’s Gardens a special place in Premiership Rugby and such a massive draw when it comes to attracting players, sponsors and new supporters alike.
“The dialogue with our supporters will continue with our Season Ticket Holders’ Forum next Monday, and I’m looking forward to listening to their views and working with all of our staff, directors, supporters, and especially John White as our new deputy chairman to take the club onwards and upwards.”