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New leadership for R&A: Mark Darbon to succeed Martin Slumbers as CEO

Mark Darbon has been appointed chief executive of the R&A and secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Darbon, 45, is leaving his job as chief executive of rugby union side Northampton, who won their first Premiership title since 2014 last month, to succeed Martin Slumbers and will formally begin his new role in November.

"I am thrilled and honoured to be taking up these positions with The R&A and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and to be moving into golf, a sport I have always loved," Darbon said.

"The R&A is a globally-renowned organisation and does so much to ensure that golf prospers from grassroots through to the professional game.

"I am looking forward to working with a hugely talented team of staff, the club membership and such an impressive array of partner organisations to achieve even more success in the years to come."

In a separate press release from Saints, Darbon said: "Leaving Northampton Saints has been an incredibly difficult decision for me to make.

"Over the last seven years my family and I have loved our time in Northampton and developed a passion and attachment for Saints which will stay with us forever.

"I am very proud of what we have achieved during my tenure. Rugby has faced some significant challenges, but the club is well positioned to continue to be successful into the future, on and off the pitch, whilst remaining at the centre of our local community in Northampton.

"My family and I will remain very close to the club as fans, and I'm delighted to be staying on in some capacity at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens by remaining on the board as a non-executive director."

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