By Duncan Mackay

Mike Miller behind rugby World CupApril 1 - Mike Miller, former head of the International Rugby Board (IRB), has been appointed by the World Olympians Association (WOA) as its the first chief executive, it was announced today. 

The Briton, whose appointment has been rubber-stamped by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, officially started his role today with the organisation established to help support Olympians around the world and promote Oympism in the community. 

Miller will be responsible for launching series of initiatives and strategies to progress its programme for reform and growth, as well as the day-to-day operations of the organisation and will oversee the delivery of its new strategic plan, including establishing new income streams via a commercial programme.

Miller stood down as chief executive IRB in January 2012 after 10 years with the Dublin-based world governing body, which included guiding the sport's successful campaign to regain its place on the Olympic programme at Rio 2016 and overseeing three editions of the World Cup, doubling the event's profits to more than £100 million ($152 million/€119 million).

Prior to joining the IRB, Miller worked in newspapers, radio, television and the electronic media in Britain, becoming head of sport at Channel 4 and then the controller of television sport at the BBC.

At both organisations he was responsible for all sports editorial output and for all sports rights negotiations.

He was also a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Sports Group Executive Bureau.

World Olympians Association London 2012Moncoa's Prince Albert, Patron of the WOA, and Joël Bouzou, President of the WOA, attend a dinner during London 2012

"The WOA is setting out on a new course with a new vision and a renewed mandate to support Olympians around the world and help promote the values of Olympism," said Joël Bouzou, President of the WOA.

"It is therefore important to have the right person to steer the WOA in this positive direction and we are delighted to bring on board Mike Miller to help achieve our important ambitions and implement the WOA's new programmes and initiatives.

"Mike has had a stellar career at the very top level of sport business and we believe his strong blend of international experience, strategic insights and enviable track record leading world class sports organisations will make him a great asset to the WOA as we embark on the next stage of our development.

"Mike's potential appointment was discussed with the IOC President [Rogge], the IOC Director General [Christophe De Kepper] and the IOC Director of Sport [Christophe Dubi] and is part of the closer working relationship which we have recently built up between the WOA and the IOC."

Miller, whose experience outside sport included three years as Channel 4's commissioning editor for the Big Breakfast - their flagship morning entertainment and news programme - and three years as the channel's commissioning editor for the internet, is looking forward to making a difference in his new role.

"I am thrilled to be joining the WOA at this crucial time for the organisation," he said.

"The WOA can make a real difference globally - looking after the needs of Olympians at all stages of their lives and implementing programmes through which Olympians can help foster health and fitness, cultural awareness, environmental responsibility and proactive citizenship throughout the world.

"It is essential we build the organisation to ensure it is able to achieve these objectives by empowering and supporting Olympians.

"I am looking forward to working with WOA President Joel Bouzou, secretary general Tony Ledgard, teasurer Patrick Singleton and the WOA Executive Committee to deliver our new programme of development that will raise awareness of the WOA and improve the services we can offer to all Olympians."

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