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Stewart Mitchell appointed new chair of NZ Rugby

Canterbury's Stewart Mitchell has been appointed as the new chair of NZ Rugby at a board meeting today.

Stewart Mitchell. Source: Getty

Mitchell has been elected into the position after a vote of the nine-person NZR board on Monday.

Former Black Ferns captain Farah Palmer who is now a lecturer at Massey University has been named as his deputy.

Mitchell said he was honoured.

"New Zealand Rugby sits at a critical juncture and I am excited at the opportunity to lead rugby into a new era alongside Farah, who will be an outstanding deputy.

"It is an exciting and challenging time to be involved. I believe we have a unique opportunity to re-imagine rugby and to lead the world and innovate on and off the field."

Mitchell replaces Brent Impey, who is stepping down after seven years in the role but will remain on the board.

Blues director and former chair of North Harbour Rugby Shaun Nixon, and former Ngāti Porou East Coast Rugby Union president Bailey Mackey - also current board members - were the two unsuccessful candidates.

Experience at board level in Canterbury rugby

Mitchell is a former Canterbury Rugby Football Union chairman (2012-14) and board member of the Crusaders (2008-2014).

He is an accountant and also has more than 30 years experience in governance roles, NZR said in a statement.

He played representative rugby in England and New Zealand and joined the NZ Rugby board in 2014.

Mitchell's election comes amid the ongoing standoff between NZR and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association over the proposed Silver Lake investment deal.

Last week the two parties met in Wellington, where the Players Association presented details of an alternative to the $387 million deal the national body was pursuing with the US private equity firm.

NZR wants to sell a 12.5 per cent stake in its commercial rights to provide a cash injection to the game in New Zealand.

But the Forsyth Barr proposal values NZR's commercial assets at up to 23 per cent higher and claims its plan to sell a 5 per cent stake could raise up to $190 million and carried less risk.

NZR maintains it has already considered a share float but does not believe it stacks up as well at the Silver Lake deal although it did acquiesce last week and agree to meet to discuss the the Forysth Barr plans.

The Players Association on the other hand are unconvinced NZR has looked at all the options fully and wants greater transparency.

Impey - who had been at loggerheads with the Players Association and had said that if the players did not sign off on the Silver Lake deal it would the biggest own goal in the history of New Zealand Sport - won't be present.

A third option was also thrown into the mix last week with former NZR chief executive David Moffett suggesting a co-operative model should be looked at.

rnz.co.nz