By Paul Osborne

Alan Gilpin has been appointed Head of Rugby World Cup by the IRB ©IRBFebruary 21 - The International Rugby Board (IRB) has appointed Alan Gilpin as head of Rugby World Cup, it was announced today. 

In the new role, Gilpin will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the IRB's flagship event, the Rugby World Cup, and joins with preparations on track to ensure outstanding Rugby World Cups in England in 2015 and Japan in 2019, the first event in Asia.

"Alan proved himself to be an outstanding candidate during an extensive recruitment process featuring high-calibre candidates," said IRB chief executive and Rugby World Cup Limited managing director, Brett Gosper.

"His strong blend of experience and knowledge of the Rugby World Cup, sporting and commercial landscape is perfectly suited to the IRB's mission to further project Rugby World Cup as one of the great sporting brands, driving Rugby's growth around the world."

Gilpin is no stranger to rugby's showcase event, joining the IRB from the Sodexo and Mike Burton Group joint venture where, as chief commercial officer for Rugby Travel and Hospitality Limited, and Prestige Ticketing and Hospitality Limited, he oversaw the award-winning hospitality programme for the London 2012 Olympic Games and has been instrumental in the delivery of the Rugby World Cup 2015 official hospitality programme, which is on track to break attendance and revenue records.

Prior to this position, the 40-year-old spent nine years at IMG where he was responsible for the commercial rights negotiations across the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups.

He joins the IRB as a replacement for Kit McConnell, who joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as sports director at the beginning of the year.

"I am delighted and honoured to be joining the IRB at such an exciting time for the sport and Rugby World Cup," said Gilpin.

"I look forward to working within a strong management team in full collaboration with key stakeholders, including our England Rugby 2015 and Japan Rugby 2019 tournament organising friends to ensure that both tournaments will write yet more record-breaking chapters in the Rugby World Cup success story."

Gilpin is due to start in his new role in May, 2014.

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