NEW managing director Stephen Vaughan can usher in a fresh approach to push Gloucester to new levels, believes Ken Nottage.
Vaughan joins Gloucester after a spell as managing director of Thomas Cook's London 2012 Olympics packages and hospitality, and will start work on December 17.
Gloucester's acting managing director Chris Ferguson was 'very, very close' to landing the job full-time – but will now leave the club, rather than revert to his former financial director role.
Vaughan has overseen Thomas Cook's Olympics plan since February 2010, and Gloucester board member Nottage has backed the 38-year-old to prove a real Kingsholm success.
Nottage stepped down from Gloucester's MD role in July, after 13 years at the helm.
The former England basketball international formed part of Gloucester's five-strong panel, interviewing for the managing director job.
Executive chairman Ryan Walkinshaw, joint Gloucester owners Martine Walkinshaw and Martin St Quinton and board member Wayne Humphreys completed the panel.
And now Nottage believes Gloucester can tread unchartered ground with this new addition to the boardroom.
He explained: "In the end it was a very, very close call between Stephen and Chris Ferguson.
"The interview panel, and the board, certainly felt Chris had all the attributes to do a very good job for the club and everyone felt he was capable of the role.
"I said at the time when I left that Chris could be the man to take the club forward.
"But in the end the panel felt that while Chris was a very worthy candidate, Stephen was the right man for the job.
"I think Stephen can inject some fresh ideas into the club and take things in a new direction that can help elevate Gloucester to new levels.
"He has a strong CV and track record, but he is also still relatively young, and he is something who will definitely be able to move things forward now.
"It was a very lengthy process that involved two agencies, and board members pooling their contacts and connections too.
"But the board definitely feel they have their man."
Vaughan had a short stint in professional football with Walsall, before kick-starting his white-collar career with British Gas and Land Rover.
Quick progress saw him become Thomas Cook's head of worldwide sales and then managing director of the travel giant's Club 18-30 brand.
The former overseas travel representative graduated from Loughborough University in business management in 2007, and was voted Young Business Man of the Year by travel's Hall of Fame committee.
Already looking forward to his new role, Vaughan said he is ready to help cement Gloucester's place as a true power in club rugby.
He said: "I'm tremendously excited and honoured to be taking on the role of managing director at one of the biggest clubs in European club rugby.
"Gloucester's heritage is the envy of many a sporting institution, with a standing within the community and support base to match, and a thriving commercial arm.
"But what particularly impressed me when I spoke to the board, was the drive and ambition to establish the club at the very pinnacle of the game.
"Nigel Davies and the playing squad have made a fine start to the season, and I can't wait to come on board to play my part in helping Gloucester Rugby achieve its undoubted potential both on and off the field."