Former England captain Bill Beaumont was on Wednesday elected chairman of World Rugby and vowed to strengthen the game around the world and increase player protection.
Beaumont, 64, succeeds Frenchman Bernard Lapasset and will work alongside new vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, the former Argentina captain.
Both men, who stood unopposed, will officially take up their roles on July 1.
“I am honoured to accept the mandate of council to serve as World Rugby chairman at what is an exciting and pivotal time for the sport,” Beaumont said in a World Rugby statement.
Beaumont won 34 caps for England and captained his country to a Five Nations Grand Slam success in 1980. He also captained the British and Irish Lions, for whom he played seven times.
After retiring, he carved out a career as a regular guest on British television quiz show ‘A Question ofSport‘, before returning to rugby as an administrator.
He is the Rugby Football Union and Six Nations Rugby chairman, was World Rugby vice-chairman from 2007 to 2012 and also served on the body’s executive committee and the Rugby World Cup board.
“Rugby has experienced significant and rapid growth, which is a credit to Bernard Lapasset and his leadership over the past eight years,” added Beaumont, who will serve a four-year term.
“The sport is in excellent health and over the next four years there will be many great opportunities to further develop and grow the game.
“However, we cannot be complacent. Rugby, like allsports, faces challenges and my manifesto outlines the five priorities focused on addressing these.
“These priorities are continuing to protect players, preserving integrity, enhancing global competition, optimising partnerships and empowering and strengthening unions.
“I will nurture the roots of rugby, our fundamental values and financial security and will make rugby decisions for rugby reasons.
“As World Rugby chairman, I will work with unions over the next four years to deliver healthy, sustainable growth for the game we all love.”
Lapasset served as chairman for eight years, over two terms, but decided not to seek a third term in order to focus on leading the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.
“Rugby is in great shape around the world, and I am proud that I vacate the position after eight wonderful years, during which we have achieved record participation, increased interest and engagement, Olympic inclusion and record-breaking Rugby World Cups,” Lepasset said.
“I leave with a dynamic new governance model implemented, and I am delighted that my colleague and friend, Bill Beaumont — with a clear vision and strong passion for the global development of rugby — will drive the game into this exciting period.”
Beaumont and Pichot were due to address the media later on Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse