The RFL Board of Directors
Simon Johnson, previously the RFL’s Senior Non-Executive Director having joined the Board in July 2014, became the Chair of the RFL in October 2019. Alongside his appointment, two additional Non-Executive Directors were added to the Board.
Simon runs a Consultancy business advising clients in the sport and leisure industries and charitable third sector. He spent 7 years as 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 four 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.
Away from sport, Simon lives in London with his wife and three children. He is an active participant in community and charitable institutions.
Chris Brindley MBE
After Executive roles in the UK with NatWest, British Gas and Metro Bank, Chris now has a portfolio of Non Executive Director (NED) and Chair roles in Business and Sport. He also is a global keynote speaker and Executive Coach. He is Chair of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, Senior NED at the Rugby Football League, Senior NED at the Manchester Football Association, NED at Equilibrium LLP, NED at Her Spirit, Business Adviser to Zellar Limited and Chair of the Sporting House Group. From an Executive coaching perspective, Chris is the Leadership and Business Coach at Metro Bank, Switch the Play, Athlete Inspired Programme and Goodson Thomas. Chris has coached executives from companies such as Heineken, Muller, Telent and Halfords. Chris is also a Business Mentor for the Premier League Elite Academy Managers Programme, and subject lead for the people module on the Executive Education programme ‘How to be a CEO in a Sporting Organisation’.
He has also worked extensively with academics from leading business schools as well as executives, managers and team leaders within global PLCs. His accolades include Britain's Best Boss, Most Outstanding Workplace at the National Business Awards; Sales & Marketing Director of the Year (3 consecutive years), and in 2017 was awarded United Kingdom Non Executive Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors.
Chris has spoken in the UK, Europe, Africa and Australia on topics including Change Management, Culture, Building High Performing Teams, Customer Experience and Coaching.
In June 2018, Chris was awarded an MBE for his services to sport.
Chris Hurst joined the RFL Board in December 2018 after almost 20 years of experience in the sports industry working for the Premier League, International Cricket Council, BBC Sport and Nielsen Sports, before launching his own digital sports business in 2018 – 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 focused 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.
Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE
Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE has over 18 years’ experience in the sports industry across the UK, Middle East and Asia, after a successful career in the City at leading global professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
In 2014, she became the first Muslim and Asian woman on the FA Council in addition to her role on the Inclusion Advisory Board at the FA, and in 2015 she was awarded an MBE for her contribution to equality and diversity in sport. She holds a portfolio of additional strategic and boardroom roles, including as an Independent Director of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and Independent Director of Bettys and Taylors Group.
She was ranked 14th in the 2018 Forbes global list of the most powerful women in sport. She founded the leading global sport development consultancy, RimJhim Consulting; she was Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation until December 2018; and co-founded the global Muslim Women in Sport Network.
Sandy Lindsay MBE
Sandy Lindsay MBE is Chair of Tangerine, the specialist creative communications agency she founded in Manchester in 2002 and which she put into Employee Ownership in 2017.
In 2015 she was awarded the MBE for services to business and young people, and in the same year she was named North West Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors (and Highly Commended in the same awards nationally). That followed the launch in 2013 of The Juice Academy, the UK's first industry-led social media apprenticeship which has created jobs for more than 400 young people in the North West and across the UK. In 2020 she co-founded a third business: Vine Insights, which helps brands understand their audiences online.
A champion of social mobility, Sandy chairs the Skills Group for the North West Business Leadership Team and is on the Business Leadership Council of Teach First. She is Vice Chair of the charity Forever Manchester and a Non-Executive Director of Flock and Northcoders.
Ralph Rimmer was appointed CEO of the Rugby Football League in July 2018, having taken the role on an interim basis in January 2018.
He has been a member of the RFL Board since 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 on to 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 five 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.
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 Ireland 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.
Karen Moorhouse is the RFL’s Chief Regulatory Officer with overall responsibility for all governance and 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.
She has been Company Secretary since 2017 and became a Director in January 2018.
Karen is also a non-executive director of Rugby League World Cup 2021 Limited - the company organising the next Rugby League World Cup in England.
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. She 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.