Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), has announced he will retire from his position at the end of the summer.
Ritchie, 63, joined the RFU in February 2012. Under his leadership, the RFU has delivered record revenue and investment into professional and community rugby.
Ritchie also oversaw the delivery of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and negotiated the Professional Game Agreement with PRL this year, worth over £200m to Premiership club rugby in England over the next eight years.
According to the RFU, participation in rugby has increased every year during Ritchie's tenure. Initiatives include the CBRE All Schools programme which has taken rugby to 500 more state secondary schools in England and will increase this to 750 by Rugby World Cup 2019.
Ritchie is one of two RFU representatives on the World Rugby Council, a member of the board of the British and Irish Lions, and a member of the Six Nations board. He is also chairman of the board of Team GB Rugby Sevens.
Before joining the RFU in 2012, he was the CEO of the All England Lawn Tennis Club. He served on the board of the Football League from April 2004 to December 2011 and, prior to his sporting roles, had a 30-year career in media, television and law including CEO of Channel 5 and vice president of the Associated Press.
RFU chairman Andy Cosslett commented: "Ian has been an outstanding CEO. He has led the RFU through a period of sustained growth and success, built a terrific management team of executives and coaches, and kept the values of rugby at the heart of his leadership style. On behalf of the Board of the RFU, I would like to thank him for his significant and lasting contribution to English rugby."
Ian Ritchie commented: "It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the RFU. I'm proud to have been part of the rugby family, working with so many talented, passionate and committed teams at every level of the game and of the Union. Rugby is a special sport, and one which is very hard to leave, but after a 40-year career and seven CEO roles, I will retire at the end of the summer with a lifetime of memories, many of which have rugby at heart. I would like to thank Andy Cosslett, the Board, and everyone at the RFU for their support "
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