- Denise Taylor and Sean Summers have joined the Board of World Rugby Events Company as Independent Non-Executive Directors
- Summers will take a seat on the Board of Women’s Rugby World Cup England 2025, with Taylor joining the Board of Men’s Rugby World Cup Australia 2027
- The appointments reflect World Rugby’s ambitious growth and commercial strategy, harnessing leading expertise from major events, entertainment, e-commerce, fan engagement and digital marketing
Denise Taylor and Sean Summers have been appointed to the board of World Rugby’s Events Company as Independent Non-Executive Directors, completing the skills-based line-up for the body responsible for the delivery of the sport’s biggest global events.
Confirmed by the international federation’s Nominations Committee chaired by Executive Board member, fan-engagement expert and former Olympian Angela Ruggiero, the appointments follow a global search run by Odgers Berndsten. They reflect World Rugby’s ambitious audience and commercial growth strategy, harnessing leading expertise across the major events, entertainment, e-commerce, fan engagement and digital marketing sectors.
A subsidiary of World Rugby, the Events Company Board is chaired by Sir Bill Beaumont and Taylor and Summers join representatives of the international federation’s Executive Board – Ruggiero and event marketing expert Bart Campbell – with broadcaster and former Black Ferns Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Melodie Robinson representing International Rugby Players on the Board, along with World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin.
Taylor and Summers bring considerable experience and expertise to the Board, supporting World Rugby’s mission to broaden the appeal, relevance and impact of its transformed major events, including the HSBC SVNS and Men’s and Women’s Rugby World Cups. They will each lend their expertise to upcoming Rugby World Cups with Summers joining the Local Operating Company (LOC) Board for Women’s RWC England 2025, and Taylor joining the LOC Board for the next Men’s Rugby World Cup which will be played in Australia in 2027.
A globally-recognised expert in stadium innovation and technology, Taylor joins the Board with a wealth of experience and leading expertise to spearhead World Rugby’s ambition to be a global event experience leader, reaching and attracting new audiences.
Taylor is a trailblazer in the experiential sector and has been instrumental in the transformation of technology solutions to deepen audience engagement and experience. At premium experiences company Legends, Taylor launched a new division focused on implementing new technologies, digital, data and analytics into stadia globally. While serving as Chief Information Officer at AEG, Taylor launched AEG-IT, a consulting arm focused on designing and operating state-of-the-art stadiums and venues, working with clients including the NFL, NBA, FIFA, and Coachella. She is currently consulting with Tottenham Hotspur.
Taylor said: “In many ways, rugby is primed for reaching, engaging and attracting new and diverse audiences. I am excited by World Rugby’s mission to make the sport more accessible and relevant to fans in stadia and across the digital environment and by bringing my expertise in the experiential space, I am looking forward to helping develop and guide those plans.”
World Rugby’s digital marketing and content plans are boosted by the appointment of Summers, who leads Mercado Libre’s foray into the entertainment industry which includes launching the free content platform Mercado Play earlier this year across Latin America and negotiating distribution agreements of premium platforms such as Disney+, Star+, HBO Max, Paramount+ and Deezer.
Highly-regarded in his field, Summers joins the Board while maintaining his role as Executive VP of Mercado Libre, Latin America's largest ecommerce and fintech ecosystem, where he is CMO and also responsible for the development of its leading retail media platform, Mercado Ads. Over his 11-year tenure he has contributed to the exponential growth of the company, helping build a user base of more than 100 million active customers while being responsible for more than US$1 billion in annual marketing investments.
Summers said: “I am excited to be joining the Board of an organisation with a true growth mission, a passion for change and personnel to take rugby forward in new ways as a sport, a business and an entertainment product. This really motivates me, and I am looking forward to helping rugby reach its true potential by making it even more relevant, accessible and fun to be a part of.”
World Rugby and Events Company Board Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont added: “As we draw to a close rugby’s 200th birthday year, we naturally look ahead to an exciting new chapter for the sport as World Rugby accelerates implementation of its new business, event hosting and entertainment strategy. Central to this growth mission is world-class expertise to guide, advise and provide expert insight as we transition to a model where World Rugby is both event owner and delivery partner, working with destinations and unions to strategically grow the sport for all.
“Denise and Sean bring a wealth of leading innovation, technology, marketing and digital expertise across sports, entertainment and business sectors, experience that will be vital to rugby increasing its relevance and impact in major markets.”