Monday, 14 September 2009

WRU boss receives lifetime achievement award

Roger Lewis has received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2009 Alumni Laureate Awards at The University of Nottingham.

The Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union and Millennium Stadium received his award at a black-tie event at the University attended by more than 100 guests and former students.

The awards ceremony is a chance for the University to honour the lives and work of former students, as nominated by alumni community, staff and current students.

Mr Lewis, who graduated with a degree in Music at the University in 1976, has combined his passions of music and sport throughout his highly impressive career and the award recognized his significant achievements in both fields.

Mr Lewis, who was the first generation of his family to go to University and now returns frequently to visit his medical student son Tom, said: “It’s a great honour to accept this award but I feel it’s me who should be presenting the University with an award because I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the institution and my tutors, themselves great practising musicians, for giving me confidence and for opening my eyes and ears.

In the video presentation accompanying his award leading figures, including the First minister for Wales, Rhodri Morgan, praised Mr Lewis’s energy and enthusiasm and former tutor Professor of Music Robert Pascall, celebrated his musical triumph of conducting a performance of Dvorak’s New World Symphony in the University’s Great Hall.

"I'm really pleased at where we are as an organisation in terms of the WRU and the professional and amateur games and the Millennium Stadium," Lewis told the assembled audience in Nottingham, paying tribute to the staff he currently employs and all those he has worked with in his distinguished career.

"What I have learned over the years is that to lead a great organisation like this you need great people around you and I managed to assemble a great team of people who have delivered.

"My key role is to be working with that team of people, continually sharpening all our performances and continuing to remind ourselves that we can all always improve. But I always recognize and acknowledge that it is the team of people around me who have delivered the success, my job is to make sure we have the right team in place.

"In each of my jobs I've worked with commercial audiences, which could be listeners, record buyers, rugby fans, spectators and I've worked with media, as distributors or sponsors, but our success here (at the WRU) has been based on some basic principlesa which have at their heart key values and beliefs....success is one... and the pusrsuit of excellence is another key value as well as integrity, honesty and family.

"The other value we have added is humour because if you don't smile now and again you will almost certainly go mad.

"Our vision here is quite simple - we are about taking Wales to the world and welcoming the world to Wales and playing a part in defining Wales as a nation, so it is ultimately about nation building."

The son of a South Wales steel worker, Mr lewis was born in Cefn Cribwr, near Bridgend. He played rugby at school and at the University and prior to becoming a student he played with the Glamorgan Youth Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and the Welsh Jazz Orchestra.

Following his graduation, Roger spent time as a musician, composer and musical director. But over the next 30 years he went on to become the Head of BBC Radio One, Managing Director of EMI Premier, Worldwide President of the Decca Record Company, Managing Director of Classic FM and ITV Wales.

Now as the man at the helm of the WRU and the Millennium Stadium he’s turned in record turnover, investment and a Grand Slam for the Welsh national side.


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