Ian Ritchie will become the new Chief Executive Officer of the Rugby Football Union.
Ritchie joins from The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) where he is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and will take over from RFU Acting CEO Stephen Brown who will revert back to his role as Chief Financial Officer.
A comprehensive search for the right person for the role was undertaken. Ian Ritchie was chosen as having an outstanding mix of business experience, leadership skills and the innate understanding of the sporting world. In his role as Chief Executive of the AELTC, Ritchie has unrivalled experience of working with some of the world’s leading sportsmen and women, and has succeeded in growing Wimbledon’s status as one of the world’s most iconic sports events.
Ritchie has over 30 years experience across business, media and sport. In addition to his role as Chief Executive of AELTC, Ritchie has held senior non-executive positions with a number of the UK’s leading sporting organisations. He was appointed to the board of the Football League in 2004 as its first independent director. He has been a Football League Representative on the Football Association Council since 2008. Ritchie is also Chairman of the Football League’s Commercial Committee and its wholly owned subsidiary FL interactive, as well as being a director of Wembley Stadium Ltd.
Ritchie will join the RFU after fulfilling notice period obligations with the date to be confirmed later. Stephen Brown will continue as Acting CEO until then.
Ian Metcalfe, the RFU Board member who led the recruitment, said, “A very strong field of candidates applied for this post, which clearly reflected the high level of interest. There was an excellent shortlist and we are confident that we have the very best person for the role of CEO to take the RFU and the game in England to the next stage of its development.
“Ian clearly demonstrated the required knowledge and capabilities across a broad range of areas. He was the standout candidate with his combination of business acumen, leadership qualities and background in sports administration. We could not have wished for a better candidate who is so highly respected across sport and the business sectors.”
Ritchie commented, “I am very proud to be taking up the role of Chief Executive at the RFU and am excited about the chance to further develop the potential that the RFU and the game offers. The opportunity to lead an organisation which I know has so many dedicated, talented people is one I relish.
“I believe English rugby has a very bright future, culminating in a once in a lifetime home World Cup in 2015. I am determined to help rugby create a legacy from the tournament that will benefit the sport for generations to come. The RFU has great commercial partners and a very sound financial base, underpinning the development of rugby union at grassroots and elite level.
“The decision to leave the AELTC was a difficult one. I have been fortunate to work for a wonderful organisation and am extremely proud of what it has achieved over the past few years. I know that Wimbledon will continue to go from strength to strength with its exceptional leadership and fantastic management and staff.”
Brief Ian Ritchie CV
2005-2011 The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, CEO
2008-current Football League Representative on the FA Council
2008-current Director of Wembley Stadium
2004-current Independent Director of the Football League
2000-2005 Associated Press, Vice President Global Business
1998-2000 Middle East Broadcasting Ltd, CEO
1997-1998 Russell Reynolds, Partner
1996-1997 Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd, CEO
Ritchie was educated at Leeds Grammar School and Trinity College, Oxford, originally trained as a barrister and lives with his wife and two children in Virginia Water, Surrey.