New Zealander David Howman has been tasked with one of sport's toughest jobs: rebuilding track and field's credibility.

The former director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency will chair the International Association of Athletics Federations' new Athletics Integrity Unit.

The operation takes over from the IAAF's former anti-doping department and will manage testing, intelligence gathering and investigations. Howman's mission will be to lessen cheating in the sport by curtailing doping, bribery, corruption, betting and manipulation of competition results.

A lawyer by profession, he led Wada for 13 years before resigning in June. The organisation started with a budget Howman once described as enough to "keep the lights on for six weeks" and went on to expose some of sport's biggest scandals.


A piece de resistance was helping reveal the systemic doping in Russia which saw their athletics team banned from the Rio Olympics.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said Howman was the perfect choice for the new role.

"It is our responsibility to create the right framework for everyone to succeed," Coe said. "I am therefore delighted we have attracted someone of the calibre and experience of David Howman as chairperson, as we set out to create a place where athletes can understand the rules and gain knowledge, confidence and experience. Whatever challenges we are confronted with, we need systems in place to deal with them."

Howman clarified that it is a governance rather than management position. A key responsibility is appointing a team to work on the issues day-to-day.

"It's the first time this has been done," Howman told Super Sport. "There's no model to follow, but it will test our ability to get things done, then hopefully other sports follow suit.

"Seb Coe has spent a lot of time getting individual federations to commit. It's hard to know [what we can do] until people are working for us, but it is an attempt to ensure the values of the sport are delivered and breaches are dealt with.

"This is exactly how everyone needs to think in terms of sport, to address issues independently without any perceived interference. That's how the best governance works in the business world."

Coe, a double Olympic 1500m champion, is hoping to reform the IAAF following the departure of his predecessor Lamine Diack in 2015. Diack remains the subject of a French investigation into corruption and embezzlement. That is among many unresolved issues for the IAAF.

IAAF council member and four-time Olympic silver medallist Frank Fredericks stepped aside in March pending the results of an investigation looking into allegations he received payments from a now-banned athletics official before the 2016 Olympics were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.

Russia's ongoing doping debacle looks set to see them miss the world athletics championships at London in August.

This week, the IAAF suffered a cyber attack by suspected Russian hackers targeting information concerning the applications by athletes for Therapeutic Use Exemptions.