The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has appointed Raghuram Iyer as its new chief executive.

The appointment, which the IOA said was made after a thorough selection process, comes after International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach urged the governing body to make a permanent appointment when he visited the country during the IOC’s session last year.

Iyer fills the vacant role at a crucial time ahead of this year's Olympic Games in Paris. 

He is a former chief executive of teams in cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) and soccer’s Indian Super League (ISL).

The IOA said: “His [Iyer’s] wealth of experience and proven track record in sports management and administration makes him an ideal candidate to lead the IOA in its mission to promote and develop Olympic sports in India.”

Under the appointment, Iyer will be an ex-officio member of the executive council without voting rights as he is not an elected member but a salaried official.

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Before joining IOA, Iyer served as chief executive of the IPL’s Rajasthan Royals, Lucknow Super Giants, and Rising Pune Supergiants, as well as the ISL’s ATK Mohun Bagan.

IOA president PT Usha added: “In our view, Iyer has a unique combination of leadership skills, strategic vision, and a deep understanding of the sports landscape. His appointment is an important step towards the continued growth and success of Indian sports on the global stage.”

The IOA had previously been criticized for failing to fill the crucial role for nearly a year. The organization’s joint secretary and All India Football Federation president Kalyan Chaubey had taken over the functions of the chief executive during that time.

Last March, Usha announced the IOA had set a criterion for the appointment of its chief executive but only one applicant had been found to tick all the boxes. The IOA then called for applications through a re-advertisement.

The criteria stated the chief executive should be a “management professional with an experience of no less than 10 years as the chief executive of a company/entity with an annual turnover of no less than Rs 25 crore ($3 million).”

In June, the IOA then received a final warning, with the IOC asking the governing body to fill the position “without further delay.”