Cardiff Blues appoint Richard Holland as new chief executive

Cardiff Blues have appointed Richard Holland as their new chief executive to replace the departed Robert Norster.

Holland's previous posts were as executive director of Chepstow and Hereford racecourses.

The 38-year-old is also a former vice-president of corporate relations and sales at Celtic Manor.

"I'm honoured, proud and excited to be appointed and... am very much looking forward to starting in the new role in January," Holland said.

"I've enjoyed my time with Chepstow and Hereford racecourses and would like to thank everyone for all the support they have given me.

"My immediate focus is on delivering another Welsh National on the 27th of December which I'm sure will be a great occasion.

"I'm very excited about the challenges that lie ahead with Cardiff Blues and taking over from Bob Norster, who has done a tremendous job. He is highly regarded in the rugby and commercial world."

Former Wales lock Norster was appointed Cardiff RFC chief executive in 2001 and continued as Blues chief following the advent of regional rugby in 2003.

I'm very excited about the challenges that lie ahead with Cardiff Blues and taking over from Bob Norster

Richard Holland Cardiff Blues chief executive

Norster, 54, who toured with the British Lions in 1983 and 1989, has said he felt the time was right to move on.

"It has been an absolute privilege to have led the Blues since its inception," Norster said in October.

"Following considerable deliberation since the summer period, I now believe it is an appropriate time for a successor to carry forward the colours and build on the success of recent years."

Norster won 37 caps for Wales between 1982 and 1989 and later managed the national side.

During his time as Blues chief executive the region moved from their traditional Arms Park home to the new Cardiff City Stadium in 2009.

Norster is the second high-profile figure to leave the Blues this year following coach Dai Young's departure to London Wasps .

Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell were appointed interim coaches after Young's departure and Blues chairman Peter Thomas has since confirmed that the pair will be in charge for the rest of the season.

An under-strength Blues side, missing eight players on Wales duty for the Test against Australia, lost 52-9 at Leinster in the Pro12 on Friday night.

But the Welsh region will be back to something approaching full strength for Friday night's home Heineken Cup match against Edinburgh.