England rugby great Andrew new Sussex chief executive.

Former England fly-half Rob Andrew has been named as the new chief executive of English county cricket side Sussex, the south coast club announced Tuesday.

AFP

Former England fly-half Rob Andrew has been named as the new chief executive of English county cricket side Sussex, the south coast club announced Tuesday.

Andrew, 53, was most recently the professional rugby director at England's governing Rugby Football Union (RFU), a post he left earlier this year after a decade at Twickenham.

His years as an RFU rugby administrator saw Andrew criticised for the way in which he was involved in the hiring and firing of several England coaches.

In particular, he faced flak for being too compliant in the dismissal of Brian Ashton, who guided England to the 2007 World Cup final, and his replacement by Martin Johnson, England's 2003 World Cup-winning captain.

England were generally felt to have under-achieved during Andrew's time at the RFU until Eddie Jones became coach following the hosts' first-round exit at last year's World Cup.

Prior to joining the RFU, Andrew was the director of rugby at Newcastle where he oversaw the start of England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson's celebrated career.

As a player, Andrew appeared in 76 Tests -- including five for the British and Irish Lions from 1985-1997 -- and was a member of the England team that lost the 1991 World Cup final to Australia.

But he also has background in cricket, having played at first-class level when a student at Cambridge University.

Andrew will succeed Zac Toumazi at Hove-based Sussex in January, with the aim of guiding the county back to the First Division of the County Championship.

Hove is not a Test match ground and Andrew will have to formulate Sussex's response if English cricket goes ahead with a new city-based Twenty20 tournament likely to be played at international fixture venues.

"I am thrilled and really excited to be joining Sussex," said Andrew in a club statement.

"The structures that have been put in place under the Sussex Cricket Limited umbrella have laid a very strong foundation for the future.

"I am looking forward to working with everyone connected with Sussex to help create success in professional cricket, recreational cricket and community programmes and ensuring that Hove remains a very special cricket ground.

He added: "I will be focusing on driving forward the strategy over the next few years and helping write the next chapter in the rich history of cricket in Sussex. These are exciting times for Sussex cricket and cricket in general and I can't wait to get started.”

Sussex chairman Jim May said: "I am extremely pleased about the appointment of Rob Andrew. He has exceptional experience, both playing and administering sport which will be of great help to our cricket management delivering success.

"Rob will be joining us at an important moment and he fully believes in our strategy of increasing the quantity and quality of participation in the recreational game.

"This is designed to build a stronger player pathway to ensure that Sussex succeeds at the top level of cricket in the long term."