12:32pm Thursday 5th September 2013
By Iwan Gabe Davies
DECORATED senior army officer Mark Williams has been appointed by the Welsh Rugby Union as the new manager of the Millennium Stadium.
A lieutenant colonel in The Royal Welsh, Williams, originally from Glynneath, had 20 years of experience in the forces, serving on tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.
Former South Wales Police superintendent Gerry Toms stepped down in June after seven years in charge of operations at the Cardiff ground.
Williams, 42, was decorated for his actions in combat in Iraq where, as a company commander, he led 135 Welsh soldiers on countless dangerous missions into Basra during the height of the fighting in 2007.
He joins the WRU later this month and, as well as his management role, will take his place as a member of the WRU’s executive board.
His appointment completes the WRU's executive team, the announcement coming just a week after England’s 2003 World Cup winning back Josh Lewsey was recruited to the board as WRU’s head of rugby to replace Joe Lydon.
WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis, said: “I am delighted to welcome Mark to the organisation in this crucial role at such an exciting time.
“We will soon be welcoming the Rugby League World Cup to Cardiff and then our Dove Men autumn series kicks off with games against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia.
“I am confident that Mark has the leadership and management skills to grasp these opportunities to continue to build on the fantastic reputation as an international events venue the stadium now enjoys.
“His military background speaks of precision, determination and clear strategic thinking which will all set him in good stead for the stadium manager role.
“He will be managing a strong and experienced team and I know he has the vision and ambition to get the best out of a great group of people.
“The stadium is a symbol of Wales and Mark is fully aware of the responsibility which is inherent in the role he is about to take on.”
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