EIGHT months after the SRU announced they were to lose their director of rugby and five months after his departure, the union are finally on the verge of being able to announce a replacement.

The revelation came from Mark Dodson, the chief executive, after a reasonably tame annual general meeting at Murrayfield where he defended his claim the union are now debt free and predicted a "game-changing" external investment but refused to promise to publish the findings of an inquiry into the union's governing structure.

In a media briefing later, he also confirmed that Ben Ryan, who coached the Fiji sevens team to the Olympic gold medal in 2016, is reviewing the work of the high performance unit, which is responsible for youth development structures as well as the professional and international tiers.

That investigation is separate from the director of rugby position – Ryan is definitely not the man – but when asked about replacing Scott Johnson, who announced his departure in December and went in March, Dodson said: "We’re in conversations at the moment and I’m hopeful that, in the next few weeks, we’ll be coming to you to talk to you about an appointment.”

Ryan's review is also separate from one being run by Bill Gammell, a former Scotland wing and leading businessman, into the governing structure – a move that is increasingly important as Northern Hemisphere rugby gears up for CVC, a hedge fund which already has a stake in English rugby, investing hundreds of millions of pounds into the Six Nations and PRO14.

There is no guarantee, however, that the member clubs will see the results of his investigation.

"That’s a matter for Bill Gammell," Dodson said. "It’s his review. It is up to him, as the owner of that report, to decide whether he puts it out. You’re making the assumption it won’t be published. I can’t guarantee it [will be] because it’s not in our gift."

During the AGM, he was also asked about the claim the union was "debt free for the first time in a generation". The accounts show a net debt of £30.4m at the end of the year – mainly debentures offered at the time Murrayfield stadium was rebuilt.

"Every year, and for the last 20 years, we’ve looked at our net cash position," Dodson said. "It was £23m [overdrawn] at its highest peak. When I came it was £14.4m, and now it is at zero.

"We always have debts in other parts of our business – around the debentures and whatever – but the key metric we use, the government uses, the BBC uses, and everybody talking about our debt [used] for the last 25 years has been around the net cash position."