Ex-RFU boss Ian Ritchie relishing new Premiership Rugby role

Ian Ritchie, right, has been unanimously elected to the Premiership Rugby board on a two-year term. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Ian Ritchie says that Premiership Rugby is "in great shape" as he prepares to become the organisation's new independent non-executive chairman.

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Ritchie will begin his role next month.

He was unanimously elected by the Premiership Rugby Board of Directors for a two-year term.

Ritchie retired from his role at the RFU last summer following a five-year stint as chief executive.

During his time at Twickenham, he was instrumental in delivering the England-hosted 2015 Rugby World Cup and in the appointment of Australian Eddie Jones as England head coach.

In a statement released by Premiership Rugby, Ritchie said: "Premiership Rugby has become one of the foremost competitions in professional sport, and I'm pleased to be taking the chair at this time.

"Clearly, the partnership with the RFU is central to the success of both club and country, and I look forward to helping ensure its success. I take over the chairmanship with Premiership Rugby in great shape."

Current chairman Semore Kurdi, owner of Premiership club Newcastle, added: "I am delighted that Ian has agreed to become chairman.

"We are in a period of significant domestic and international growth for the club game, with this weekend's big Premiership rugby matches just one example, as they will be seen in some 200 countries around the world.

"Ian will undoubtedly add to our ability to realise the full potential of the league. I have enjoyed my time in the chair, and I look forward to working with him through this next phase."

The Aviva Premiership resumes this weekend after a three-week break, with the schedule including Saracens hosting Harlequins at the London Stadium and Newcastle tackling Northampton at Newcastle United's St James' Park.