England Cricket Board : Ian Watmore takes as ECB Chairman in place of Colin Graves

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The ECB Board confirms that ECB Chair Colin Graves has made the decision to end his term on August 31.

The Board looks forward to celebrating the significant achievements of Colin Graves’s term in the coming months.  

Commenting on his decision, Colin Graves said:  

“With the launch of The Hundred unavoidably moved to 2021, I have reviewed last year’s extension of my term as Chair, and put a request to the Board to now finish early, on August 

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‘’It feels important to both the game and the ECB Board, to allow Ian Watmore to commence his role earlier than originally agreed. I have no doubt that his wealth of experience in sport, business and government will be invaluable as we navigate through this crisis

‘’I have been extremely heartened by how cricket has come together in these recent, unimaginable times. There remains a long road ahead, but I have immense confidence in the excellent leadership of Tom Harrison, our Executive Management Team and the ECB Board as they shape the direction of our response to COVID-19.

‘’It has been a privilege to work with so many passionate people across the game who are driven by their belief in cricket’s power to improve lives and connect communities. 

‘’There is still much to be done in the coming months as I continue to lead the ECB during this challenging time. As we get closer to August I will look forward to saying my farewells and sharing good wishes to all those I have worked alongside.’’

The Board confirms Ian Watmore as Chair Elect

Following the publication in a national newspaper of allegations against Ian Watmore around his 2018 tenure as a non-executive director of the English Football League (EFL), the Board established a sub-committee of directors comprising Barry O’Brien, Katie Bickerstaffe and Martin Darlow to review the allegations, which Ian denied. 

During an extensive process, that included a confidential review of the report referenced in media, the sub-committee has universally agreed that there was no evidence to support any allegation of wrongdoing on Ian Watmore’s part. In addition, it was concluded that the appointment process had been undertaken in a thorough and professional manner and the Board now regards the matter closed.

Accordingly, the ECB Board on Wednesday unanimously endorsed Ian Watmore’s appointment as Chair Elect, which will now be put to the membership for ratification at the AGM. 

The appointment of Mr Watmore was made in February, following a rigorous search and selection process run by a dedicated Nominations Committee. The committee was chaired by ECB Non-Executive Director and ex-England cricketer, Lucy Pearson, and former England Captain and current Chair of the ECB Cricket Committee, Sir Andrew Strauss. The late David Hodgkiss, Chairman of Lancashire Cricket at the time, represented the game as an observer to the process. 

AGM to take place at the end of May

The ECB today confirmed that its Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place at the end of May, with an exact date to be shared imminently. 

Lucy Pearson and Martin Darlow’s terms extended

Following the end of Lucy Pearson and Martin Darlow’s initial four-year terms, the Board has decided on an extension of terms by six months so they can initiate a full process when the restrictions of COVID-19 have lifted. 

Ms Pearson and Mr Darlow will both continue in their roles as Cricket Non-Executive Directors on the ECB Board until November. 

Ian Watmore, ECB Chair Elect’s biography:

Ian Watmore has a distinguished record across business, public life and sport with extensive experience gained from a broad range of senior positions.

After graduating in maths and management science at Cambridge, Mr Watmore rose to become the youngest ever CEO of Accenture UK. He has since held Permanent Secretary positions in the Civil Service and was appointed by The Queen in 2016 to chair the Board of Civil Service Commission, a post he will hold until 2021. He has reported to five Prime Ministers. 

He has also held several senior roles within sport as both an executive director and non-executive director. He has been an independent board member of the England 2015 Rugby World Cup, Group CEO of the Football Association and a member of the board of the English Institute of Sport and the English Football League. While he was at the FA in 2009-10, he was proud to launch the Women’s Super League and the St. George’s Park project.

He also has a strong record of widening participation in grassroots sport including being a national organiser of the All Schools programme as part of the Rugby World Cup in 2015, and running a number of fundraising initiatives for community sports facilities in the south Manchester area, including at his local Lindow Cricket Club where his sons played.

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