Ulster name Hugh McCaughey as interim chief executive

Former healthcare boss McCaughey has a long involvement with Ulster rugby in coaching and managing positions

Ulster and the IRFU have appointed Hugh McCaughey, the former chief executive of South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, as their interim chief executive.

Following the departure of Jonny Petrie earlier this week, McCaughey will commence his role with the province next Wednesday. He coached a number of high-profile Ulster and Ireland players at age-group level, including Rory Best, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry, Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble, as well as having served as manager of Ulster and the Irish Sevens team at the 2009 Rugby World Cup.

McCaughey has also coached at school level, and chaired the Ulster Rugby academy from 2015-19. Since retiring, he has taken on roles with a number of charities, most recently becoming chairman of Crescendo in October 2022.

In a statement which is noticeably longer than the one announcing Petrie’s departure, Paul Terrington, chairman of Ulster Rugby’s management committee, said: “Hugh is a welcome addition to Ulster Rugby. His senior organisational leadership experience, not only in the local public sector but also in the rugby world, is hugely advantageous for us at this time.


“He has a proven track record of delivering in the challenging area of healthcare, and we are looking forward to seeing the impact he can have with Ulster Rugby.”

McCaughey said: “I have been a passionate supporter of Ulster Rugby for over 40 years, and I am proud and delighted to be joining now as Interim CEO.

“Over the past decades, I have been involved with Ulster Rugby in many guises, including coach, manager, player, and a vociferous supporter on the terraces, as well as influencing how the game is played, coached and governed at a club, provincial and national level.

“Whilst the post is an interim appointment, I don’t see it as a case of holding the reins. Ulster Rugby has recently faced challenges, but it is my belief that in the coming months, we can achieve much and also lay the foundations for future success.

“I am committed to doing all that I can to bring success to the province I care so deeply about.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times