RFU chief executive Steve Brown has confirmed that he is to depart his role with the governing body of the English rugby union at the end of the year.
The news comes a matter of weeks away from a Rugby World Cup year and just 14 months after Brown replaced his predecessor in the role, Ian Ritchie.
Brown joined the RFU in 2011 and aside from his recent position as CEO, which he took over in September 2017, he has worked across a number of high-profile roles, including chief financial officer, chief officer business operations and managing director of England Rugby 2015.
Fresh from informing the RFU board of his decision this week, Brown said: “This has been a very difficult decision for me to make. I’ve loved my time in rugby, and am deeply proud to have made a contribution to a sport I love.
"It has been a fascinating seven and a half years, and a great honour to lead the RFU over the last 14 months. I am proud of the people who make the Union – including our hard working and committed staff and the brilliant volunteers who make the game. I’m sad to leave, but the Union is in good shape, with an excellent leadership team in place.
"I have always been a rugby fan, and always will be, and I wish all our England teams, coaches, and everyone involved with the game at all levels the very best for the future, which looks bright for the English game.”
Commenting on the upcoming departure, Andy Cosslett, RFU chairman, added: “This is a sad day for the Union. Steve has made a huge contribution to the RFU during his time here. He has been a pivotal figure during a long period of sustained growth for the Union and, as managing director of the Organising Committee, played a key role in delivering Rugby World Cup 2015.
"Described by World Rugby as ‘the best World Cup ever’ the success of the tournament returned a wonderful dividend for the RFU and left a lasting legacy. Steve’s tireless work ethic and selfless attitude has won him the respect of all who know him and the game will be extremely sad to see him go.
“Steve is a good man and a good friend to many of us. He leaves with our very best wishes and our sincere thanks.”
The RFU has revealed that current director of professional rugby, Nigel Melville, will take on the role of interim chief executive, until Brown’s replacement is appointed and in place.
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