World Rugby, the global governing body for rugby union, has appointed Mick Wright as chief of operations at its new EventsCo division, which will oversee the federation’s new joint venture host delivery model for the premier Rugby World Cup national team tournaments.
Wright brings a “wealth of major event and leadership experience to the role,” including having served as executive director at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and headed up the logistics planning and operations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
He also has experience working with World Rugby through his roles as head of tournament services for the 2015 edition of the men’s Rugby World Cup in England and executive director of operations and event delivery for the subsequent 2019 edition.
Elsewhere, Wright has consulted for the likes of the International Olympic Committee, English soccer’s Football Association, and the 2014 and 2018 editions of the Commonwealth Games.
Wright will work with World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin and chief of events Michel Poussau as the organization transitions to its new hosting model.
Announced earlier this year when the US, Australia, and England were awarded various upcoming World Cup hosting rights, the new approach will see World Rugby form partnerships with national unions and governments to establish a local delivery structure in chosen destinations.
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The aim is to optimize opportunities for the growth of the game and provide more certainty and support for tournament hosts and prospective hosts.
The new model is intended to further build on the improved future host selection process that was introduced in 2020.
Wright said: “I am delighted to be joining World Rugby at such an exciting time for the sport. I know the team well through my Rugby World Cup and multi-sport event experience, and the organization’s vision, coupled with a clear mandate for growth, including the remodeling of its major events and onboarding world-class talent, represents a golden opportunity not just to lead in this space, but to be transformational.
“I am passionate about rugby and its proven ability to bring people together. Through this role, I hope to play my part in ensuring that the events that we plan and deliver have a positive and sustainable impact on the sport, its reputation, and ability to grow, not just in its heartlands, but into new nations and demographics.”
Gilpin added: “Mick is enormously respected within the global major sports event environment and we are delighted to be welcoming him to World Rugby at a time when we are managing a period of exciting change within the organization.
“Mick’s wealth of global events experience will be important as we establish a dedicated EventsCo structure that will oversee and unlock the potential of our new Rugby World Cup joint venture host delivery model for future Rugby World Cups in line with our strategic mission to accelerate the global growth of the sport, making rugby more accessible and more relevant to more people more of the time.”