Tom Harrison to step down as ECB’s chief executive

Tom Harrison to step down as ECB’s chief executive

Tom Harrison to step down as ECB’s chief executive
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Tom Harrison has decided to step down as the ECB’s chief executive after a tenure of seven and a half years.

When Harrison’s term ends in June, Clare Connor, the managing director of women’s cricket and president of the MCC, has been named as an interim replacement.

Harrison joined IMG in Singapore and ESPN STAR Sports in senior executive positions before being appointed in October 2014 and started full-time the following January.

He was born in England and raised in South Africa before returning to the UK at the age of 14 to play first-class cricket for Derbyshire and Northamptonshire.

For much of his tenure, though, he has been a divisive figure. He oversaw the debut of the Hundred, which was delayed until last summer, and while the £1.1 billion television rights agreement he secured in 2017 increased the ECB’s revenue, it drained its coffers.

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He has also had to deal with the racism crisis that has engulfed the English game in recent years, regularly testifying before DCMS select committees, and oversaw the sport’s response to the 2020 pandemic, which included the staging of England’s full international summer program behind closed doors in bio-secure environments.

“It has been a huge honor to be CEO of the ECB for the past seven years,” Harrison said. “Cricket is an extraordinary force for good in the world and my goal has been to make the game bigger and ensure more people and more communities in England and Wales feel they have a place in this sport. The long-term health of cricket depends on its ability to grow and remain relevant and be more inclusive in an ever-changing world.

“The past two years have been incredibly challenging, but we have pulled together to get through the pandemic, overcome cricket’s biggest financial crisis, and committed to tackling discrimination and continuing the journey towards becoming the inclusive, welcoming sport we strive to be. I have put everything into this role, but I believe now is the right time to bring in fresh energy to continue this work.”

With the men’s team losing its managing director, head coach, assistant coach, and captain over the winter and the role of chair still vacant following Ian Watmore’s retirement in October, Harrison is the latest individual to leave a position of authority at the ECB.

Following the sacking of Ashley Giles in the aftermath of the Ashes, Rob Key filled the vacant director’s role last month, while Brendon McCullum was named England’s new Test coach last week, taking over from Chris Silverwood, and will team up with Ben Stokes, the new captain, for the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2.

This week, Australia women’s head coach Matthew Mott is anticipated to be introduced as the new white-ball coach.

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Martin Darlow, the ECB interim chair, said: “Tom has been an outstanding CEO and deserves our sincere thanks for all he has achieved in his time at the ECB. Through the Inspiring Generations strategy, he has set the game on a path to growth and to being played and watched by more people from all backgrounds, underpinned by record investment in cricket.

“When the pandemic struck, it was Tom’s leadership that brought the game together and saved us from the worst financial crisis the sport has ever faced. He has always put the interests of the game first and worked to lead important change to make our game more accessible and inclusive, though we all know there is still much more work to do.

“We will now begin the search for his successor who can build on all that he has achieved. I’m pleased that Clare Connor has agreed to step into the role on an interim basis while this process is underway.”

The European Central Bank’s Board of Directors has selected executive search company Spencer Stuart to manage the search for a new chief executive, with the position expected to be advertised soon.

 

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