15 Dec 2011

RFU finds new CEO

7:07 am on 15 December 2011

Ian Ritchie will become the new CEO of England's Rugby Football Union after being lured away from a similar role at Wimbledon's All England Tennis Club.

Ritchie, who spent six years in charge of Wimbledon, takes over from acting CEO Stephen Brown who will revert to his role as chief financial officer once Ritchie has served a yet-to-be-determined period of notice.

Brown stepped in last month following the resignation of Martyn Thomas, who was also formerly chairman of the RFU, after a period of often chaotic internal power struggles and reviews.

England have appointed Stuart Lancaster as caretaker coach for the Six Nations championship, which begins in February, and Ritchie's first big task will be to oversee the appointment of a permanent coach to replace Martin Johnson, who resigned last month after a disappointing World Cup campaign.

The former television executive, who has also had roles in football and is a director of Wembley Stadium, says he's looking forward to the challenge of leading English rugby towards the next World Cup on home soil.

Ritchie's six years in a charge of the AELTC have coincided with a boom for the Wimbledon Championships in terms of TV revenue while his innovative leadership has turned the venue into one of the most modern in the sport while still retaining the traditions of the grasscourt event.

During his time at the helm, a new Centre Court roof was completed as well as two new showcourts.