Leeds Rhinos appoints first female director in 130-year history

Leeds Rhinos have appointed the first female director in the club’s 130-year history.

Sue Ward, operations director at Leeds CF&A Co, the company which owns Leeds Rhinos, and Gary Hetherington. Picture credit: Andrew Varley

Sue Ward has become operations director - a newly-created position - with Leeds CF&A Co, the company which owns Rhinos and the rugby stadium at Emerald Headingley.

Ms Ward, 55 - daughter of former Hunslet captain and coach Fred Ward - originally joined Rhinos as a consultant in 2005 and has been head of stadium operations for several years.

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She said: “I am privileged and proud to be part of the full board at Leeds CF&A Co and to be the first woman to join the board.

“However, I do not feel it matters whether you are male or female and it is down to hard work and completing the task in hand.

“I think there is room for diversity in all boardrooms and that can only strengthen any business.”

Ms Ward added: “I am originally from Castleford and had a lifelong interest in rugby league.

“I left school at 16 and started work at the bank and have worked hard to get where I am making the most of the opportunities and training I have been offered.

“My previous background was in leadership and finance, I had a great career at Barclays spending over 20 years there, including working for Barclays stock exchange in London before returning to Leeds in 1991.

“That experience has given me lots of transferable skills which have really benefited me during my time at the club.”

In another move, ahead of International Women’s Day yesterday, Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) appointed Dee Thomas as its new director of operations.

The airport said it is a key senior appointment for the business, which is keen to encourage more women to work in aviation.

Ms Thomas joined DSA at the start of the year having relocated from Kent where she worked for Wilson James, suppliers of security, logistics and business support, as director of aviation. In her role she was responsible for the strategic leadership ensuring high performing teams delivered safe and effective services for their clients.

She said: “DSA has impressed me with its commitment to encouraging more women to work in the aviation industry and I am very proud to support its drive to encourage more females to consider this as a career option.”