DUBLIN (AP) — World Rugby made the in-house move of hiring Alan Gilpin as the governing body’s chief executive, tasking the English official with leading the sport out of financial turmoil brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gilpin, whose appointment was announced Thursday, has had the dual role of chief operating officer of World Rugby and managing director of the Rugby World Cup since 2016. Now he takes the top job as the replacement for Brett Gosper, who has accepted a senior position in the NFL.

Gilpin’s role in helping to organize Rugby World Cups — the big money-maker for World Rugby — stretches back to when he was responsible for the commercial-rights negotiations for the 2003, 2007 and 2011 tournaments while at sports management firm IMG.

“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,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, who is also English.

Every national rugby union has faced huge losses during the pandemic, and World Rugby recently decided to push the women’s World Cup, being staged in New Zealand, back a year to 2022.

“I am well aware of the challenges that we face as we emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic and seek to get rugby back on the field in many parts of the world,” Gilpin said. “Working with our members and partners, we will continue with our mission to grow the global rugby family, while furthering welfare and injury prevention for players at all levels.

“Attracting and engaging new audiences and delivering compelling and competitive international tournaments remains at the center of our strategy.”

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