World Rugby has appointed interim chief executive Alan Gilpin as its new CEO to replace Brett Gosper.

Gilpin, who joined World Rugby in 2014, had previously been the organisation's chief operating officer, as well as managing director of the Rugby World Cup since 2016.

Gosper left his role in January after nearly nine years to take over as the head of the National Football League (NFL) in Europe and the United Kingdom.

"Alan is well known and very well respected by the rugby family through his roles... and I have long admired his passion, energy, innovation and leadership skills," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a news release. 

"I'm excited by Alan's vision for the future of the organisation and the moves the sport needs to take to become truly global and drive sustainable growth in new, key markets.

"His intimate knowledge of the business of the sport, the opportunities and challenges we collectively face... and his excellent leadership and stakeholder relations skills make him the stand-out and right choice for this role at an important and exciting time for the sport globally."

Briton Gilpin said he was "immensely proud" to take up the role and recognised the biggest challenge was to navigate the sport through the COVID-19 pandemic as well as furthering welfare and injury prevention for players at all levels of the game.

He added that the governing body was talking to potential World Cup hosts to ensure long-term hosting certainty.

"We are already in discussions with potential hosts for the men's and women's World Cups in 2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031," he said.

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