RFL chairman Richard Lewis appointed Wimbledon chief exec

Richard Lewis
Lewis has been chairman of the RFL for 10 years

Richard Lewis, the chairman of the Rugby Football League, has been appointed chief executive at Wimbledon.

Lewis will leave the RFL at the end of April after a decade in charge, to take over at the All England Tennis Club.

Senior non-executive director Maurice Watkins will act as interim chairman at the RFL until a successor is found.

Lewis replaces Ian Ritchie, who left the All England Club in February after six years to become chief executive of the Rugby Football Union.

Lewis, 57, said: "I leave the RFL after 10 fulfilling years during which the sport has grown and prospered.

"I leave with a mixture of sadness but also excitement at taking up another wonderful opportunity."

Lewis will continue in his position of chair of Sport England, a role he took up on a part-time basis three years ago.

As an international tennis player Lewis reached a career high world ranking of 68 and represented Great Britain in Davis Cup from 1977 to 1983.

He was Director of Tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association from 1998 to 2000 before joining the RFL.

Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club, said: "We have the person with the right blend of sporting background and management skill and experience to ensure that the All England Club and The Championships continue to go from strength to strength."

Watkins, one of the most prominent lawyers in British sport, is a director at Manchester United and is recognised as having played a key role in the establishment of the Premier League.

He will help identify Lewis's permanent successor.

"This is a great moment for someone to come in and help shape the future of a very successful sport," Watkins said.

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