Chiefs Rugby Club and New Zealand Rugby have announced Clayton McMillan as interim head coach of the Gallagher Chiefs for next year's Investec Super Rugby campaign.
McMillan has signed a one-year contract with New Zealand Rugby to coach the Gallagher Chiefs while head coach Warren Gatland leads the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
McMillan will take up the role after he has completed his Mitre 10 Cup duties with the Bay of Plenty Steamers.
Current Maori All Blacks head coach and Bay of Plenty Rugby Union director of rugby, McMillan has been instrumental in the success of Bay of Plenty Rugby Union's High Performance programme during his tenure with an impressive record including last year's Mitre 10 Cup Championship title.
His coaching ability was recognised in 2017 when has was appointed head coach of the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians side who faced the British and Irish Lions during their 2017 tour of New Zealand and was announced as head coach of the Maori All Blacks that same year.
Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Michael Collins commended McMillan on his appointment.
"We are excited for Clayton to lead the Gallagher Chiefs in 2021. He is a talented coach and was a stand-out candidate.
"He boasts an excellent track record of developing players and delivering success.
"Not only during his tenure as the director of rugby for the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union, but during the Maori All Blacks and New Zealand Provincial Barbarians campaigns.
The results he has achieved reflect his leadership ability.
"Clayton is no stranger to the Gallagher Chiefs team having already worked alongside assistant coaches Roger Randle and David Hill and a number of the Gallagher Chiefs playing group," said Collins.
New Zealand Rugby Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum congratulated McMillan on his appointment.
"It's a unique opportunity and I am sure Clayton has the mana to work within the Chiefs environment and continue to build on what Gats and his crew are currently achieving."
McMillan said he was grateful for the chance to lead the Gallagher Chiefs.
"Super Rugby has certainly been a goal of mine; there is a fantastic pool of gifted athletes to work with along with an experienced and talented management group."
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union CEO Mike Rogers puts McMillan's selection down to his dedication and commitment to coaching.
"This is great recognition for Clayton. We are delighted for him and very proud. He has been an outstanding contributor for Bay of Plenty Rugby and the Maori All Blacks.
"It was only going to be a matter of time before he was going to be successful in gaining a position at the Gallagher Chiefs or another Super Rugby franchise."
Following his playing career in Bay of Plenty and Japan, the Bay of Plenty centurion transitioned into coaching 18 years ago while finishing playing professionally in Japan.
Upon his return to New Zealand he has held several age group and club roles in both Bay of Plenty and Wellington before taking the reins of his home province in 2015.
McMillan's coaching success has included being appointed the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians Head Coach in 2017 to face the British and Irish Lions during their 2017 tour of New Zealand.
Later that year he was announced as the incoming Maori All Blacks head coach. McMillan has since led tours to the Northern Hemisphere, United States and Fiji.