By Jonathan Davies

The chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), Roger Lewis, will step down after the World Cup.

The 60-year old was appointed in 2006 having led BBC Radio 1, Classic FM and ITV Wales.

Lewis said: "It has been a fantastic and memorable journey both on and off the pitch and I would like to thank the board of the WRU for their backing during some challenging times and for my colleagues who have been unstinting in their support for me both personally and professionally.

"After nine years as group chief executive the time is right for me to move forward and by announcing this in advance now, we are ensuring that the transition can be well managed in the best interests of Welsh rugby.

"I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved together over the past nine years.

"The WRU is now in a strong position to seize the opportunities and face the inevitable challenges of the future and I wish my successor well for the adventure ahead."

Golden era and controversy

Lewis has overseen a so-called 'golden era' for Welsh rugby, with three Six Nations championships (two of which were Grand Slams) and a World Cup semi-final appearance in 2011.

He has also played a pivotal role in reducing the Millennium Stadium's debt, overseeing record financial turnover and introduced dual contracts which allowed key players to stay in Wales.

However, Roger Lewis' reign has not been without controversy. Throughout the majority of 2014, the WRU were locked in somewhat of a civil war with the Welsh regions over funding.

His first major decision came after the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Following a disastrous Six Nations campaign in the spring, Wales, led by head coach Gareth Jenkins, were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages, losing to Fiji 38-34. Lewis sacked Jenkins the following day.

Outside of his role as WRU chief executive, Roger Lewis has chaired the campaign to bring more devolved powers to the Welsh Assembly. And he also became chair of the south east Wales city region, which is focused on boosting economic growth in the area.