World Rugby, the governing body of rugby union, has appointed Alan Gilpin as its permanent chief executive officer.

Gilpin previously took up the role as intern chief executive following the departure of Australian Brett Gosper who left for the NFL in January.

Before joining the governing body, Gilpin, worked as chief operating officer and managing director of the Rugby World Cup.

Gilpin, who has a legal background and is a former IMG employee, said the next few years are set to be a “pivotal period” in the growth of the sport.

He added: “I am also well aware of the challenges that we face as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and seek to get rugby back on the field in many parts of the world.”

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said, “I am excited by Alan’s vision for the future of the organisation and the moves the sport needs to take to become truly global and drive sustainable growth in new, key markets.

He added, “His intimate knowledge of the business of the sport, the opportunities and challenges we collectively face as a family and his excellent leadership and stakeholder relations skills make him the stand-out and right choice for this role at an important and exciting time for the sport globally.”