World Rugby has announced that Robert Brophy will step down as chief financial officer (CFO) after almost three decades with rugby union’s international governing body.

Brophy will leave his long-standing position with the organization later this year.

The governing body has credited him with playing “a strong role” in the development of World Rugby as a federation and a business, both as a CFO and during a spell as interim chief executive (CEO) in 2012.

During his tenure, Brophy has overseen the financial management of World Rugby and multiple men’s and women’s 15s and Sevens Rugby World Cups.

He has overseen the growth of quadrennial revenues for World Rugby from £30 million ($35.5 million) to over £650 million, according to the organization.

World Rugby said Brophy’s expertise across finance, taxation, investment, treasury, risk, and insurance “has supported the financial stability and revenue growth of member unions, regional associations, and the federation more broadly.”

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He is also credited with successfully managing the World Rugby Group balance sheet and cash reserves, particularly during the challenges of the pandemic.

Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive, said: “Robert’s contribution to World Rugby and the world of rugby is significant.

“Over a tenure spanning most of rugby’s professional era, he has been at the heart of the sport’s growth story, playing a leading role in transforming the finances of the organization and its major events to increase sustainable investment in our national unions and wider sport, including a spell as interim CEO.

“That investment has positioned rugby as a major sport on the world stage. He has made an enormous contribution to rugby and we all wish him well in his future plans.”

Brophy added: “It has been an honor to serve World Rugby in various exciting and challenging roles. The organization has grown exponentially in that time and it is ideally positioned to take the sport to the next level in terms of growth and participation.”

The process to recruit Brophy’s successor is already underway and is being managed by sports industry recruitment firm SRI.