Charlotte Samuelson has been appointed as World Rugby chief operating officer ©World Rugby

World Rugby has appointed Charlotte Samuelson as its chief operating officer in an attempt to develop the organisation's governance structures as it aims to "deliver against the pillars of an ambitious new strategic plan".

The body announced its Global Sport for All Strategic Plan 2021-2025 in April last year before it was updated in December.

It provides World Rugby's long-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, the body claims, "is underpinned by a focus on evolving the game, with advancing player welfare at [its] heart."

The plan includes "game-changing targets" and focuses on "enhancing competition portfolio, growing participation and increasing engagement, inclusion and diversity," World Rugby insists.

Samuelson, who has worked in senior roles at Close Brothers, Vanquis Bank, Barclays Bank and Grant Thornton, will have overarching responsibility for all of World Rugby’s corporate activities.

This includes finance, legal, technology, risk and human resource departments.

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: "We have recently undertaken a full review of the World Rugby organisation as we look to deliver global growth for rugby in a rapidly-evolving and highly-competitive sports market to ensure that we can effectively govern and lead the sport. 

"To do this, we need to have world-class people, technology, systems and processes in place. 

"This new chief operating officer role reflects that need, and I am delighted that we are appointing Charlotte to this pivotal role. 

"Charlotte’s extensive and broad experience will enable us to continue to develop and invest in our people and these key areas, supporting the growth of rugby and the growth of World Rugby as a business that invests in the game globally and is even more purpose-driven in its approach."

Rugby fan and non-executive Board member of Surrey County Cricket Club Samuelson added: "I am thrilled to have been appointed chief operating officer of World Rugby, a role which combines my passion for sport and two decades of cross-sector corporate experience. 

"We have exciting times ahead at World Rugby and ensuring that we are operating with best-in-class corporate functions is integral to the successful delivery of our strategic plan. 

"I can’t wait to get started."

Samuelson is due to join World Rugby in Irish capital Dublin in May.