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WRU chief to step down after Rugby World Cup

Roger Lewis is to leave his post as group chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) after this year’s edition of the Rugby World Cup national team tournament.

Lewis first took on the role of chief executive in 2006 after joining the national governing body from the ITV Wales arm of UK commercial broadcaster ITV. He will stand down from the position on October 31 after the conclusion of the World Cup, which is being hosted by England with games also staged at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

During his time at the helm of the WRU, Wales have won three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams, and also reached the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup – the country’s best performance since 1987.

Lewis was also a central figure in the lengthy row between the governing body and its four professional regions. The dispute was finally settled last year with the creation of the Rugby Services Agreement, a £60m (€81.06m/$92.2m) plan that will run until 2020 and help generate additional revenue. The plan also includes a new dual-contract system for top players funded by both the WRU and the various regions.

“After nine years as group chief executive the time is right for me to move forward and by announcing this in advance now, we are ensuring that the transition can be well managed in the best interests of Welsh rugby,” Lewis said.

“I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved together over the past nine years. The WRU is now in a strong position to seize the opportunities and face the inevitable challenges of the future and I wish my successor well for the adventure ahead.”

The WRU will begin a search for a new group chief executive immediately. Lewis will work with senior staff at the WRU to ensure a smooth and effective transition in the lead up to his departure.