Bill Beaumont has beaten opposition from Agustin Pichot to be re-elected World Rugby chairman.
The former England lock was voted in for a second term after receiving 28 votes from members of the World Rugby council, surpassing the required number of 26 in the first round ballot.
Beaumont’s election will see Bernard Laporte become vice-chairman of World Rugby, with four-year terms for both set to commence after the council’s annual meeting on May 12.
Pichot will likely step back into his senior role with Sanzaar after Argentina ended its ambition to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup to support Australia’s bid.
“I am honoured to accept the mandate of the World Rugby council to serve as the international federation’s chairman once again and would like to thank my union and region colleagues, members of the global rugby family and, of course, my family for their full support,” Beaumont said in a statement released by World Rugby.
“I would like to thank Gus for his friendship and support over the last four years. While we stood against each other in this campaign, we aligned in many ways, and I have the utmost respect for him. Gus is passionate about the sport and his contribution has been significant.”
Beaumont’s campaign manifesto pledged a comprehensive review of governance to coincide with restarting rugby in the aftermath of the global health pandemic.
Referred to by pro-Pichot supporters and critics of World Rugby as one of the ‘Old Boys’ Club’, Beaumont shared where his immediate attention lies.
“Over the last four years we have achieved a lot, but we are at half-time and need to press on in the second half. I now have a clear mandate to work with Bernard to implement progressive, sustainable change,” Beaumont added.
“As an organisation, we must lead, be transparent, accountable and continue to serve for all. We must be united in our drive to make this great sport even better, simpler, safer and more accessible. We must listen to players, fans, competitions, our unions and regions, and take decisions that are in the best interests of all with our strong values to the fore.
“Now is not the time for celebration. We have work to do. We are tackling COVID-19 and must implement an appropriate return-to-rugby strategy that prioritises player welfare, while optimising any opportunity to return to international rugby this year in full collaboration with club competitions for the good of players, fans and the overall financial health of the sport.
“I am determined to ensure that the spirit of unity and solidarity that has characterised our work in response to an unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic, is the cornerstone of a new approach that will deliver a stronger, more sustainable game when we emerge with new enthusiasm, a renewed purpose and an exciting future.”