Tom Harrison resigns as ECB chief executive amid English cricket shake-up

Clare Connor, the director of England women’s cricket, has taken temporary charge following Harrison’s departure

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 17 May 2022 10:20 BST
Tom Harrison has stepped down as chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (Hollie Adams/PA)
Tom Harrison has stepped down as chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (Hollie Adams/PA) (PA Archive)

Tom Harrison has resigned from his role as chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board in yet another major change of personnel at the top of the English game.

Harrison’s decision comes after the recent resignations of England’s director of cricket, head coach, assistant coach and captain. The ECB is aleady searching for a new chairman after Ian Watmore stood down last year (his interim replacement, Barry O’Brien, recently resigned too due to health problems), and will now begin the process of identifying a new CEO to shape its future.

The ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket, Clare Connor, will step in as Harrison’s interim replacement when he departs next month until a permanent appointment is made.

Harrison was appointed in 2014 but has come under increasing pressure in recent months. He came under fire for his determination to push through the Hundred, a new cricketing format which turned out to be a surprise success, and then for scooping a lucrative bonus pot from the project in the wake of severe cuts to the ECB’s workforce during the pandemic. He was also criticised for the ECB’s limp response to the Yorkshire racism scandal.

Harrison said in a statement: “It has been a huge honour to be CEO of the ECB for the past seven years. 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.”

Martin Darlow, the ECB’s latest 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 under way.”

England begin a three-Test series against New Zealand next month with new captain Ben Stokes at the helm. While Stokes was the obvious choice to replace Joe Root, who stepped down following a dismal streak of results, there have been inexperienced appointments above him with former batsman turned pundit Rob Key installed as the new director of cricket, and former New Zealand captain Brendan McCullum named as the surprise head coach of the Test team.

Matthew Mott, the current head coach of the Australian women’s team, is expected to take over England men’s white-ball sides in the coming days.

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