Miller to step down as chief executive of IRB
Friday, 20 January 2012
January 20 - Mike Miller, who helped oversee the campaign to get rugby sevens into the Olympics, is to step down as chief executive of the International Rugby Board (IRB) at the end of this month, it has been announced.
The American-born Miller, who has been chief executive for nearly 10 years, will also quit as Rugby World Cup managing director.
In a statement, the IRB said: "Following discussions with recently re-elected chairman Bernard Lapasset, it was agreed that the beginning of a new four-year cycle following the acclaimed Rugby World Cup in New Zealand was a good time to end their successful partnership which has seen the IRB grow in stature and capability."
Miller has overseen three Rugby World Cups, the re-admission of rugby union into the Olympic Games and the growth of the Sevens World Series.
"Mike has achieved much during his 10 years at the IRB, which is a much stronger organisation than when he joined in 2002," said Lapasset (pictured below right with Miller).
"The game is in great shape, and the IRB is ready to take on the challenges of continuing to grow rugby around the world.
"And in particular to ensure that the tier one countries are strong and secure, the tier two countries continue to improve and grow and the emerging major market countries become competitive as soon as possible.
"Mike will be a hard act to follow.
"But with my newly re-affirmed four-year mandate, a revamped IRB Executive Committee, a soon to be refreshed Rugby World Cup board and a vibrant council and staff, we have the tools in place to continue to drive the game forward."
Miller joined the IRB in April 2002 following two decades of experience in the media and sports business.
He had worked in newspapers, radio, television and the electronic media, becoming the Head of Sport at Channel 4 UK and then the Controller of Television Sport at the BBC.
Miller was also, for three years, Channel 4's Commissioning Editor for the Big Breakfast.
But he found himself at the centre of controversy last October when he claimed that the All Blacks were not "irreplaceable" after the New Zealand Rugby Union warned that they may not be able to afford to compete at the next World Cup in England in 2015 unless the IRB changed its financial structure, which they claimed discriminated against them at the expense of the smaller nations.
"We have achieved a lot in the last decade," said Miller of his time at the IRB.
"Rugby is in a great place as it looks forward to World Cups in England and Japan, World Cup Sevens in Moscow, women's rugby World Cup in France and the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
"The game has grown around the world, and with its major events going to Asia and Eastern Europe for the first time the platform has been established for rugby to become a truly global sport."
December 2011: Lapasset beats Beaumount to be re-elected as IRB chairman