Ulster CEO Jonny Petrie departs province by mutual consent

Petrie had previously stated his aim to stay on at the helm of the province after parting ways with former head coach Dan McFarland

An already tumultuous season at Ulster has taken another turn after it was announced that CEO Jonny Petrie has parted company with the northern province.

Petrie’s exit comes a month after the early termination of head coach Dan McFarland’s contract which, in turn, has resulted in Richie Murphy being appointed as interim head coach of the province.

A brief statement was issued by Ulster Rugby earlier today after growing speculation that time had been called on Petrie’s tenure at the Kingspan Stadium.

That statement said that: “The IRFU and Ulster Rugby confirm the departure of Jonny Petrie as CEO by mutual agreement.”


As with the current coaching situation at Ulster, the statement went on to explain that an interim CEO would be appointed prior to a recruitment process being carried out to fill the post on a permanent basis.

Kevin Potts, CEO of the IRFU, was quoted as saying: “The IRFU and Ulster Rugby thank Jonny for the five years spent with Ulster Rugby and wish him well, both personally and professionally, for the future.”

In the wake McFarland’s departure last month, Petrie had made it clear that he intended to stay on in the job and help see Ulster through their current financial issues.

“It’s been fairly turbulent on the field and off the field, he said, “and I’m committed to what I do here, and I really care about seeing this province succeed.

“I want to see that through in the longer term.”

Petrie had been appointed as Ulster CEO in January 2019.

The Ulster squad are currently in South Africa and face the Stormers on Saturday following last weekend’s defeat at the Sharks which marked Murphy’s first game in charge.

The province are seventh in the URC table and have won just one of their last five games in all competitions.

Speaking just ahead of the confirmation of Petrie leaving, Ulster assistant coach Roddy Grant said: “We’re a long way away from any of that and it’s not my place to comment.

“Any speculation, any pressure or anything like that, everyone - players, staff - you are judged on what you do, so that quickly focuses the mind. It’s a tough profession.

“Pro sports teams are well used to head down, focusing and getting on with the job.

“Rugby is an easy one for everyone and especially the players as come the weekend, you have some big South Africans who are going to be physical and you don’t have much room for anything else to consider than what’s in front of us at the weekend,” Grant added.