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Longstanding USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville is leaving the United States to become the director of professional rugby for the Rugby Football Union, English rugby's governing body. Melville was already stepping down as CEO of USA Rugby to take on the same role with Rugby International Marketing, the governing body's new for-profit arm. Now, he will be out of American rugby altogether in any formal capacity, outside of the RFU's relationship with RIM as an investor.
“It has been a singular pleasure to work so closely with Nigel over the decade that he has held the dual roles of USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations," said Bob Latham, chairman of USA Rugby's board of directors. "He has propelled USA Rugby forward on every level. He leaves with our everlasting gratitude, our blessings, and our expectations that he will remain a friend of USA Rugby in his new position.”
Melville resigns as the longest-running CEO in USA Rugby history, having spent more than nine years on the job. He will continue in his role Stateside through June 30th before heading for the RFU's offices. Melville is returning home by going to the RFU, having earned 13 caps for England, seven of them as captain. As a coach, he led the London Wasps to the first-ever professional Premiership title in 1996.
Melville tapped his network in England to hire USA 7s coach Mike Friday in 2014, which might be seen as his greatest achievement, at least in regards to the high performance side of his job. Under Melville, USA Rugby also rolled out the award-winning Rookie Rugby program and saw an immense growth in membership.
“It has been an honor to serve the USA Rugby community through these exciting times,” said Melville. “We have made great progress together and the game continues to grow at every level. I wish everyone continued success and look forward to continuing to support the efforts of USA Rugby in the future.
“I will always look back at my time with USA Rugby fondly. I know that what makes and will continue to make this organization so great are the people who work at the National Office, the Board of Directors and Congress, Member Organizations as well as active and former members, the fans and countless more. The future is incredibly bright for USA Rugby thanks to the tireless work of those in the rugby community.”
The search was already well underway for a new USA Rugby CEO, and now RIM must also find a new leader to replace Melville.
“On behalf of the board and stakeholders in Rugby International Marketing, we would like to thank Nigel Melville for getting us off to a very strong start," said RIM chairman Chad Keck. "While he will be missed, we look forward to bringing in a new leader to drive the vision forward.”