The International Rugby Board, rugby union's governing body, has today announced the appointment of Alan Gilpin as head of Rugby World Cup.
Gilpin officially starts at the IRB in May, when he will succeed Kit McConnell, who left to join the International Olympic Committee as its new sports director at the start of the year.
Gilpin will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the quadrennial World Cup, which takes place in England next year and then in Japan in 2019, the first time it will be held in Asia.
He is well-known in rugby union circles and joins the IRB from Rugby Travel & Hospitality Limited, where is currently chief commercial officer. The company is a joint venture between Sodexo UK and the Mike Burton Group that is handling corporate hospitality for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Gilpin has the same job title at another Sodexo-Mike Burton Group joint venture, Prestige Ticketing, which was one of the three official providers of hospitality packages at the London 2012 Olympics.
He previously spent nine years with IMG, the international sports and entertainment company, where he was responsible for commercial rights negotiations across the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups.
Brett Gosper, chief executive of the IRB, and managing director of Rugby World Cup Limited, said: "Alan proved himself to be an outstanding candidate during an extensive recruitment process featuring high-calibre candidates. His strong blend of experience and knowledge of the Rugby World Cup, sporting and commercial landscape is perfectly suited to the IRB’s mission to further project Rugby World Cup as one of the great sporting brands, driving rugby’s growth around the world."
Gilpin said: "I am delighted and honoured to be joining the IRB at such an exciting time for the sport and Rugby World Cup. I look forward to working within a strong management team in full collaboration with key stakeholders, including our England Rugby 2015 and Japan Rugby 2019 tournament organising friends to ensure that both tournaments will write yet more record-breaking chapters in the Rugby World Cup success story."
McConnell helped deliver three editions of the Rugby World Cup and is back at the IOC having been employed there as manager of sport relations between 2000 and 2002.
He is replacing Christophe Dubi as sports director, with the latter, in turn, stepping up to replace Gilbert Felli when the Olympic Games executive director retires after the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China this August.