WRU chief Lewis to step down after World Cup
ESPN Staff
February 24, 2015
Roger Lewis oversaw the appointment of Warren Gatland - and Wales won the Six Nations soon after © Getty Images

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis has announced he will stand down after this year's World Cup.

Lewis, 60, joined the WRU nine years ago from ITV Wales, where he was managing director. Lewis will depart on October 31, with the WRU saying they will start the search for his replacement immediately.

During Lewis' tenure, Wales have won three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams, while they also reached the 2011 World Cup semi-finals - their best performance on the global stage since 1987.

WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis pictured at Wales training ahead of the clash with South Africa, November 7 2008
Lewis will stand down after the World Cup © Getty Images

He oversaw the appointment of New Zealander Warren Gatland as Wales head coach in late 2007, and results were immediate, with Wales being crowned Six Nations champions and Grand Slam winners in 2008.

Lewis was also a central figure during a lengthy and often unsavoury dispute between the WRU and its four professional regions that was finally settled last year.

The £60 million Rugby Services Agreement, which runs until 2020, will bring additional revenue and includes a new dual-contract system for top players funded by the WRU and regions.

The dual-contract mechanism has already seen players like Wales captain Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate and Samson Lee sign deals.

"The time is now right for me to step down after a remarkable period at the helm of the Welsh Rugby Union," Lewis said, in a statement released by the WRU.

"It has been a fantastic and memorable journey, both on and off the pitch.

"I would like to thank the board of the WRU for their backing during some challenging times, and for my colleagues who have been unstinting in their support for me, both personally and professionally.

"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.

"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."

WRU chairman and former Wales fly-half Gareth Davies added: "We recognise the massive contribution Roger has made to the growth of Welsh rugby, both on the field and off the field, and respect his decision to step down after the World Cup, which allows us time to find a successor and to build upon Roger's success."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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