So, will there be a replacement for Richard Lewis?
Or is a "non-executive chairman" as far as they're going to go?
Just to be clear, this is as far as they are going. Barkwick is not a replacement for Lewis but for Maurice Watkins. This change in structure was one of the recommendations made in the Watkins report, and I believe the standard in all the other major sports governing bodies.
Almost all respondents to the review considered that the sport had now reached a position where there was no longer a need for an executive chairman. In 2001 an executive chairman had been vital to ending the dysfunctionality that had crippled the sport; however the growth of Rugby League since that time and the success of the independent RFL Board had removed the need for an executive chair.
Having a non-executive chairman and a chief executive is the usual way in Britain of running an organisation. The chairman being independent to ensuring good governance of it, and that it works in the best interests of shareholders or stakeholders etc, while the chief executive gets on with actually running the business.
An executive chairman allows for stronger leadership, as it gives the executive influence on the board making the head of the organisation more powerful at the expense of scrutiny and accountability, for which the onus is placed on the independent directors. Traditionally this model has been favoured in America, though I believe the government there no longer recommend it following corporate scandals like that at Enron.
While Barwick is not taking an executive role, in his position he still offers guidance to the executive and this is where his experience will be beneficial and should see him have an influence on future policy.