February 21, 2014 (ISN) – The International Rugby Board has announced the appointment of Alan Gilpin as Head of Rugby World Cup.
Vastly experienced and with an impressive sport and business track record, Gilpin will start his new role in May and joins the governing body at an exciting time for a sport that continues to experience unprecedented global participation, profile, engagement and commercial growth.
At the heart of that growth is Rugby World Cup, the sport’s flagship event and the financial driver of Rugby development worldwide. Gilpin, 40, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the globally-renowned brand and joins with preparations on track to ensure outstanding Rugby World Cups in England in 2015 and Japan in 2019, the first event in Asia.
A Rugby man and previously a lawyer, Gilpin is no stranger to Rugby’s showcase event. He joins the IRB from the Sodexo and Mike Burton Group joint venture where, as Chief Commercial Officer for Rugby Travel & Hospitality Limited, and Prestige Ticketing & Hospitality Limited, he oversaw the award-winning hospitality programme for the London 2012 Olympic Games and has been instrumental in the delivery of the Rugby World Cup 2015 official hospitality programme, which is on track to break attendance and revenue records.
Prior to the London 2012 role, Gilpin spent nine years with IMG, including responsibility for commercial rights negotiation across Rugby World Cup 2003, 2007 and 2011.
Gilpin replaces Kit McConnell, who joined the International Olympic Committee as Sports Director at the beginning of the year.
IRB Chief Executive and Rugby World Cup Limited Managing Director Brett Gosper 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.”
IRB Chairman and Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset added: “Alan joins a strong and dynamic Rugby World Cup management team at an exciting time for the tournament with preparation on track to deliver what promises to be a wonderful England 2015 event and a ground-breaking first Rugby World Cup in Asia at Japan 2019.”
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.”
Andrew Burton, Chief Executive of Rugby Travel & Hospitality, said: “While we are sad to see Alan leave, we recognise this is a wonderful opportunity for him to continue to contribute to the ongoing success of an event and sport that he is passionate about. We very much appreciate the significant contribution Alan has made to the development of our business, and we wish him the very best in his future role with Rugby World Cup. I have no doubt that he will be a great success.”