Six Nations chief executive John Feehan steps down

Dubliner presided over period of strong growth for championship

John Feehan also oversaw  four successful British & Irish Lions tours. Photograph: Getty

John Feehan also oversaw four successful British & Irish Lions tours. Photograph: Getty

 

John Feehan has stepped down from his role as chief executive of Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions after 16 years at the helm of both rugby organisations.

A recruitment process will begin soon to replace Mr Feehan, who is leaving with immediate effect. In his time, the Dubliner oversaw the growth of the Six Nations championship, while he also presided over four successful British & Irish Lions tours.

“After 16 wonderful years with Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions, I feel it is time for a change,” said Mr Feehan.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute working in both roles however the timing is now right for me and I am ready to pursue other interests.”

Mr Feehan added that he departed “safe in the knowledge” that both organisations had “a very bright future ahead” and that he looked forward to watching rugby “as a passionate supporter for many years to come”.

‘Tremendous conversation’

Six Nations chairman Pat Whelan thanked Mr Feehan for a “tremendous contribution” to northern hemisphere rugby.

“During John’s tenure, the Six Nations has evolved into the greatest annual international rugby competition,” Mr Whelan said. “The championship is in a very strong position with viewing figures and attendances continuing to rise and the overall quality the best it has ever been.”

British & Irish Lions chairman Tom Grace said Mr Feehan had “skilfully guided” the Lions squad through four successful tours from 2005 to 2017 “on and off the pitch”, seeing some “cherished memories” created as well as some “tremendous rugby” played along the way.