RFL's Current President - Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham was elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017.
Prior to this Andy was MP for Leigh from 2001. In Government, Andy has held Ministerial positions at the Home Office, Department of Health and the Treasury. In 2008 he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, before returning to Health as Secretary of State in 2009.
In opposition, Andy has served as Shadow Education Secretary, Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary.
Andy lives in Leigh, Greater Manchester, with his wife and three children. He has a huge personal commitment to ensuring as many young people as possible enjoy the physical and mental wellbeing benefits from sport and physical activity - whether from involvement in team sports like Rugby League or the ‘daily mile’ across the region’s schools.
He has been around Rugby League all his life and is a keen supporter of Everton FC.
As Mayor, he is accountable to and representing the people of all 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester and steers the work of Greater Manchester’s Combined Authority.The job of the Mayor ranges from setting budgets and priorities for Greater Manchester’s public services to acting as an ambassador for the region.
Responsible for transforming public services and shaping the future of our region, the Mayor represents Greater Manchester people, making the case for the region nationally and internationally.
Andy is the chair and eleventh member of Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The leaders of the 10 councils form the Mayor’s Cabinet. He is also supported by a Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and a Deputy Mayor for Economic Growth and Business.
He is responsible for the regional transport budget from Government, as well as the future of bus services in Greater Manchester. As Mayor, Andy is the public’s voice on policing matters, taking on the responsibilities of the Police and Crime Commissioner. He makes strategic decisions about the fire service and set its budget, taking on the responsibilities of the Fire & Rescue Authority.
The Mayor is also responsible for a £300 million housing investment fund and the creation of a spatial framework for the whole of Greater Manchester.
Andy is a thought leader and champion on the Northern Powerhouse agenda, and committed to ensuring bold, radical and ambitious plans for Greater Manchester as a major economic and political power.
Brian Barwick has a wealth of experience in sport and broadcasting and is the founding partner of Barwick Media and Sport, a global sport and media consultancy. In February 2013, Brian took up the role of Non-Executive Chairman at the Rugby Football League. In June 2015 he was also appointed as Chairman of football’s National League.
Brian has held a number of senior positions including, Chief Executive of the Football Association, Controller of Sport at ITV, and a number of key roles within the BBC, including Head of Television Sport.
Brian was Chief Executive of the Football Association from 2005 to 2008 where he saw through the completion of the new Wembley Stadium, launched the Respect campaign and was involved in the appointment of England’s senior coach on two occasions. He was also a board member of Wembley Stadium Ltd and FIFA’s Legal Committee and UEFA’s National Teams Committee.
At ITV he was responsible for all ITV Sports coverage including the 1998 FIFA World Cup during which the highest audience in ITV’s broadcasting history was achieved (28 million people for the England vs. Argentina World Cup tie).
From 1979-1998 Brian held a range of senior roles within BBC Sport. He was responsible for award winning coverage of the BBC Sport television portfolio including, the summer and winter Olympics, FIFA World Cups and outstanding national events like the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, Wimbledon, the Open Golf and the Grand National, and the FA Cup Final. He was Editor of Match of the Day from 1987-1995.
Brian studied economics at Liverpool University and began his career as a reporter on the North Western Evening Mail. He is married with two sons. He currently holds a number of posts including a visiting Professorship of Strategic Leadership at The School of Management at Liverpool University and Chairman of the Advisory Board at the University College of Football Business.
In September 2015 Brian was made an honorary doctorate by Buckinghamshire New University in recognition of his career in broadcasting and sport.
Ralph Rimmer was appointed onto the board of the Rugby Football League in 2013 after joining the organisation as Chief Operating Officer in October 2010. He has a wealth of experience at every level of the game, coupled with extensive knowledge in stadia and leisure development.
He played community rugby league for many years as a junior and senior for Ulverston ARLFC and went on to captain the Liverpool University team and play at student international level, before playing for Wakefield side, Stanley old Boys.
He began his professional career within the sport in South Yorkshire in 1991 as a Development Officer with Doncaster. He then took up a similar role with Sheffield Eagles three years later, going onto become General Manager and then Chief Executive of the then Super League club.
Following the club’s historic Challenge Cup Final victory over Wigan at Wembley in 1998, Rimmer went on to spend 5 years as the Chief Executive at Huddersfield Giants before moving on to the board as a non-executive director and taking on the role as the managing director of the stadium company, Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd.
In the last decade Rimmer spent four years as a non-executive director of Huddersfield Town AFC, helping to take the club out of administration; and also managed the Irish national rugby league team from 1997 to 2002 (including the 2000 Rugby League World Cup) and the Yorkshire Origin team in 2002; He was also non-executive Chairman of The Sporting Pride Community Trust, in Huddersfield, between 2007 and 2010.
As Managing Director of KSDL he was Project Lead on the £2m stadium redevelopment in 2007 and also on the £150m The HD One Leisure Development. He acted as a management consultant on several stadia developments including; Leigh Sports Village, Colchester United FC Stadium and also the Salford City Stadium.
Simon Johnson is the Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council. Before that, he had a 20 year career that saw him operate at the highest levels of the sports and media industries. After a period as the senior lawyer at the Premier League, Simon’s career in sport saw him spend 4 years as Director of Corporate Affairs at The Football Association, followed by a role as COO of England’s Bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
He started his career as a lawyer, spending 10 years with ITV, the majority as Director of Rights and Business Affairs. He is a member of the Group Board of the Amateur Swimming Association.
Away from sport, Simon lives in London with his wife and three children. He is an active participant in community and charitable institutions.
Chris currently holds a number of positions including Chair of one of the UK's leading charities, GreaterSport; Independent Non-Executive Director of Manchester Football Association and Chair of Total Swimming, Total Gymnastics and Becky Adlington Swim Stars.
He is also in demand as an Executive Coach and Mentor for Business Leaders throughout the UK. He is a renowned keynote speaker on topics, which include, Customer Experience, Leadership, Teamwork, Change Management and Performance Management.
His sporting background puts him in a unique position to blend sporting high performance techniques and apply them successfully in business.
Chris has held Executive positions at NatWest, where he was the Managing Director of the Retail Bank for North of England and Scotland. At British Gas, Chris acted as Business Director North of England and Scotland and was also National Sales Director for Central Heating and Installations.
Karen is the Rugby Football League’s Director of Operations and Legal with overall responsibility for all regulatory matters across the whole of the Game including Salary Cap and Player Registrations, Facility Standards, Safeguarding, Medical, On Field and Off Field Disciplinary matters and Player Welfare. In addition, Karen is the Company Secretary (a role she has held since late 2016).
Karen joined the Rugby Football League in 2008 as Compliance Manager. In 2009 she became Head of Legal and then in 2014 assumed her current role. Whilst Head of Legal, Karen was also on the Project Board of the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
Karen is a qualified solicitor having read law at Cambridge University graduating with a First Class Degree (whilst also gaining a Blue for Rowing). Karen completed her solicitor training contract at Magic Circle law firm Linklaters: subsequently qualifying into the Banking Department.
In 2005 Karen joined The Football Association as an In House Lawyer with responsibility for a range of sponsorship, commercial and other legal matters.
Chris has almost 20 years of experience in the sports industry working for the Premier League, International Cricket Council, BBC Sport and Nielsen Sports, before recently launching his own digital sports business – C J Hurst Consultancy – which provides strategic advice to leading organisations across the sports industry.
At Nielsen Sports, Chris oversaw the organisation’s digital offer in UK and Europe, working with leading rights holders and brands on a range of key digital issues.
As BBC Sport’s first dedicated social media editor, he developed and delivered a strategy focussed on growing BBC’s social media reach and engaging younger audiences.
In his role as Digital Development Editor for BBC Sport’s award-winning interactive services, Chris oversaw the editorial development plans for the Rio Olympics that were used by 102 million unique browsers across the globe.
Chris also works as a Trustee on the Board of the Women’s Sport Trust.