New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew has announced he will step down from his role at the end of the year.
Tew has been in rugby administration for 25 years, serving as NZR CEO for the last 12 years.
"After much reflection, I’ve decided that this is the best time for me to make way for someone else to lead New Zealand Rugby into the future and a new phase for our national game," Tew said.
"There are new and exciting changes coming as a result of the upcoming, new international calendar; a changing broadcast environment as well as a new All Blacks head coach to be appointed, so it’s the right time for me.
"I’ve not made this decision lightly – it’s a job I love and I consider it an absolute privilege – but it is for those reasons that I believe the time is right to step down."
Prior to joining NZR in 2001, Tew was CEO of the Canterbury Rugby Union and Crusaders Super Rugby Franchise. He was also previously general manager at the then Hillary Commission and secretary-general of the New Zealand Sports Union.
Tew's love for rugby stemmed from growing up in the Hutt Valley, where he played for Hutt Valley High School and senior rugby for Hutt Old Boys before captaining the university club while gaining a master's degree in sports management from Victoria University.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who is also departing New Zealand Rugby at the end of the year, thanked "Tewy" for his contribution to the game at all levels - from grassroots to international.
“I don’t think there has been a better sporting CEO in New Zealand sport, especially given the immense scrutiny and expectation he had in his role at New Zealand Rugby," Hansen said.
"On behalf of the All Blacks, I’d like to thank him for his unwavering support for the team and management. It’s no coincidence that his time in the job has coincided with one of the most successful periods of All Blacks rugby. He’ll be sadly missed by the entire team, who have always enjoyed his company, support and passion.
"Personally, I’d like to thank him for all the support and wisdom he has given me throughout a very long association. He gave me my first job as director of the Canterbury Rugby Academy and then various coaching roles following on from that. But he’s been much more than just a great boss – he’s been a very supportive friend – and I’m immensely proud to call him a mate."
While Tew's next venture hasn't been confirmed, NZR Chairman Brent Impey said Tew will continue on with roles in global rugby.
"He will have an ongoing role as a director of Rugby World Cup, and we expect to see him involved with the development of rugby in our Asia-Pacific and North America regions," Impey said.
“We will immediately begin our search for a new chief executive, and Steve has kindly agreed to stay on until a replacement has been found and settled in."