Ian Watmore named as Colin Graves’ successor as ECB chairman

Ian Watmore has been named as the ECB’s new chairman and will succeed Colin Graves when he leaves the post in November 2020.

Watmore, 61, was chief executive of the FA for nine months in 2009-10, during which time he launched the Women’s Super League and the St. George’s Park project, and more recently was an independent board director of the Rugby Football Union. His appointment will be ratified by the ECB at their AGM on May 12

“I am incredibly proud to be appointed to such a prestigious position and look forward to continuing Colin’s work and making the most of the tremendous momentum that cricket is currently enjoying,” Watmore said.

“I feel privileged to be given this opportunity to help a sport that I care passionately about. All my life, I’ve seen the power of sport to unite communities. I look forward to working with the ECB and its stakeholders to grow the international, domestic and recreational game and make a positive difference to society.”

A maths and management science graduate from Cambridge, Watmore spent over 20 years as a management consultant at Accenture before going on to hold various permanent secretary positions in the Civil Service, as well as chairing the Board of Civil Service Commission, a post he will hold until 2021.

His record of widening participation in grassroots sport, including during the Rugby World Cup in 2015, was a key factor in his appointment, including at his local Lindow Cricket Club where his four sons played. One of them, Duncan, is now a League One footballer for Sunderland. He was a non-executive director at Quantum Sport, the management business that represents Mark Wood and David Willey, but stood down from that role in 2018.

ECB chair-elect Ian Watmore addresses the media alongside former England manager Fabio Capello during his time at the FA Getty Images

Lucy Pearson, speaking on behalf of the ECB Board, said: “Ian brings such a wealth of experience from the highest levels of business, sport and the public sector environment. With his broad skillset and deep understanding of all levels of the game, he is perfectly placed to support the ECB in delivering on our ambitions over the next five years.

“Ian has a lifelong passion for the sport and, in an incredibly strong field of candidates, he was the stand-out all-rounder.”

Graves, the current chair, said: ”I am delighted that Ian has been appointed to be the next ECB Chair. When I took the post back in 2015, I could not have dreamed that the game would be in the shape it is today. The opportunity to grow cricket and bring more people into the game has never been so significant.”

Graves is in the running to succeed Shashank Manohar as ICC chairman, with Imran Khawaja, the ICC’s deputy chairman, also set to contest the leadership of the global governing body at its annual meeting in June.

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