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Philip Browne to retire as CEO of IRFU after 23-year stint

The IRFU say they have commenced a detailed search for a replacement.

Philip Browne, Chief Executive IRFU (file pic).
Philip Browne, Chief Executive IRFU (file pic).
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

PHILIP BROWNE HAS announced he is set to retire as Chief Executive of the Irish Rugby Football Union, effective 31 December 2021.

It ends his 29-year association with the organisation, having joined in 1992, before assuming his current role in 1998.

Speaking following his decision, Browne said: “It has long been my intention to retire from the role of Chief Executive to coincide with reaching the age of 60. I delayed my decision, given the recent extraordinary pressures on Irish rugby, as a result of the Covid Pandemic.

“I now believe we are at a point where it is possible to commence plotting a sustainable route out of the pandemic and engage in a structured approach to future longer-term planning, hence the announcement of my decision at this time.

“I would like to thank the various Union committees with whom I have worked and the staff of the Union for their unwavering support as, together, we oversaw the constant changes required to ensure the Union remained relevant to its constituents and the world game.

“I intend, in time, to reflect on possible future part-time commitments but, as of now, have no definite plans.”

Des Kavanagh, President of the Irish Rugby Football Union, paid tribute to the departing CEO: “Philip Browne has been an exemplary Chief Executive of the IRFU over a period of enormous change within rugby and broader society.

“In recognising his outstanding career, I, on behalf of the IRFU Committee, all his colleagues and the wider rugby family, express our sincere thanks to him.”


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Declan Madden, Chairman of the IRFU Management Committee said: “Irish Rugby has been extremely fortunate to have had at its helm for such a significant time a person of Philip Browne’s calibre.

“His contribution to Irish Rugby has, quite simply, been immeasurable. Never one to seek the limelight, he has been the constant in overseeing unprecedented playing and commercial success for Irish rugby over three decades. We are truly grateful to Philip and wish him every good fortune as he moves on with his life.”

A statement added: “The IRFU has commenced a detailed search for a replacement Chief Executive and has appointed the international recruitment consultancy Korn Ferry to assist them with the process. In the meantime, Kevin Potts, Chief Operating Officer, will assume the role of Interim Chief Executive on Mr Browne’s departure.”

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