World Rugby, the global governing body for rugby union, has appointed Tom Hill as its new chief commercial officer, as part of an ongoing strategy to increase the presence of the sport in regions around the world.

Hill will join the organisation in September from English Premier League football club Manchester United, where he has been serving in the role of global head of partnerships and operations.

In his new position with World Rugby, Hill will over see the body’s broadcast, commercial and marketing strategies in an effort to seek out new audiences and commercial opportunities.

Hill has a wealth of experience in the professional rugby union sector, having previously served as sales and marketing manager for the Rugby Football Union, the national governing body of rugby union in England.

In addition, Hill was general manager of the England Rugby Supporters’ Club and had a spell as commercial director of English Premiership team Saracens.

“I am delighted to be joining the experienced team at World Rugby; it is a sport that I am very passionate about and have grown up with, both playing and latterly coaching,” Hill said.

“I am excited about the depth and breadth of commercial opportunities for the sport, which will ultimately underpin accelerated global growth.”

Brett Gosper, chief executive of World Rugby, added: “Tom’s exceptional track record with some of the biggest brands in sport is perfectly suited to World Rugby’s strategic mission to grow the global game through expanding and strengthening our commercial footprint, unlocking partner opportunities in new markets and inspiring new audiences through fan-first innovative broadcast and digital channels.

“Tom joins a strong and dynamic management team at a time of exceptional global growth, Rugby World Cup going from strength to strength with a record Worldwide Partner programme for the first tournament in Asia in 2019 and strong candidates for 2023, the growth of rugby sevens as an Olympic sport and more fans than ever before engaging with us and the sport through social media.”

Image: Marie-Lan Nguyen