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Francis Baron
England
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Full name Francis Baron
Born date unknown
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Francis Baron became the first chief executive of the RFU in 1998, following the game's switch to professionalism.

He is also a member of the RFU Management Board and the newly formed Professional Game Board, now responsible for the elite game in England.

During his time as chief executive, Baron has become an often divisive and controversial figure despite a certain amount of on field success and the rejuvenation of the RFU's finances. Baron is a graduate of Cambridge University, where he played rugby before playing for Chelmsford and Rosslyn Park and becoming a member at Richmond.

Prior to joining the RFU, Baron earned a great deal of experience during four years as the group chief executive of First Choice Holidays. Prior to this Baron was the Managing Director of WH Smith's television and media division, overseeing the creation of The European Sports Network, later renamed Eurosport.

In his first year as Chief Executive at the RFU he instigated a full review of the RFU with a view to improving the commercial presence of the union and improving their management structures. In the two years prior to Baron's arrival the RFU had been operating at a £10m loss.

The RFU broke even in Baron's first year in charge and has since gone on to become a profitable business.

On the rugby side, Baron has been in place for the most successful period in English rugby. Despite the glory of the 2003 World Cup win, Baron has not had a smooth ride in terms of his dealings with coaches and fans.

A public falling out with Clive Woodward in 2004 and the saga surrounding the appointment of Martin Johnson as the successor of Brian Ashton were heavily publicised by the media, leading to Baron being compared to the ineffectual "old farts" of Will Carling's famous outburst ahead of the 1995 World Cup.

Despite these problems, Baron has been able to assure new coach Johnson of a similar budget to that of Clive Woodward's World Cup winning side, a legacy of the RFU's change in financial fortunes.

After overseeing the opening of Twickenham's new South Stand and England's successful 2015 World Cup bid, Baron announced he would retire in July 2010 following 12 years at the helm of the RFU. He left the organisation in profit, having made £9m in his final year.

Latest Articles
RFU slam Baron outburst (Aug 30, 2011) Baron calls for RFU disrepute charge (Aug 30, 2011) Baron fears for Rugby World Cup 2015 (Jul 15, 2011) Baron claims RFU is in "meltdown" (Jun 19, 2011) Catt awarded OBE in New Year Honours (Dec 31, 2010) Francis Baron news and articles (64) »
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Mar 24, 2011
Former RFU chief executive Francis Baron receives his CBE from the Prince of Wales
Former RFU chief executive Francis Baron receives his CBE from the Prince of Wales
©  Getty Images
Sep 23, 2009
RFU chief executive Francis Baron
RFU chief executive Francis Baron
©  Getty Images
Sep 23, 2009
The Rugby Football Union launches their 'This is Rugby' campaign
The Rugby Football Union launches their 'This is Rugby' campaign
©  Getty Images
Sep 23, 2009
RFU chief executive Francis Baron and Premier Rugby chief Mark McCafferty
RFU chief executive Francis Baron and Premier Rugby chief Mark McCafferty
©  Getty Images
Francis Baron rugby photos (7) »
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