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Ian Watmore has been named as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)’s next Chair to succeed Colin Graves when he leaves the post in November 2020.
Mr Watmore’s appointment as Chair-Elect has been made at this time to enable him to shadow his predecessor and ensure a smooth transition into the role.
Mr Watmore, 61, has a distinguished record across business, public life and sport with extensive experience gained from a broad range of senior positions.
He was offered the ECB position following a rigorous search and selection process run by a dedicated Nominations Committee 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 Nominations Committee today made its recommendation to the ECB Board, which unanimously approved the choice. Mr Watmore’s appointment will be ratified by ECB members at the AGM on May 13.
Mr Watmore, a lifelong cricket fan will take over the role on December 1. He said: “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.
“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.”
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 four sons played.
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.”
Mr Graves, the current Chair of the ECB, 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.”
Mr Graves, who succeeded Giles Clarke as Chair in 2015, has overseen some notable achievements during more than five years in the role.
These include governance reforms, the move to a fully independent Board, the creation of The Hundred, a record-breaking broadcast deal with Sky and the BBC, both senior men’s and women’s teams winning World Cups and substantial growth at grassroots level.
Notes to Editors
Ian Watmore – Biography
Ian Watmore has a distinguished record in business, public life and sport. Born in Kent in 1958, he has a degree in mathematics and management studies from Cambridge. A lifelong cricket fan, he played the game at school and attended his first match in 1968.
After beginning his career as a graduate trainee in 1980, he spent 24 years with Accenture. He rose to become the firm’s youngest ever CEO and led the UK business through its public floatation to become part of the FT Global 500 business that Accenture is today. Between 2000 and 2004 he served as the CEO of Accenture UK.
He moved into the Civil Service in 2004 and was Permanent Secretary in Downing Street from 2005 to 2007, at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills between 2007 and 2009, and at the Cabinet Office from 2010 to 2012.
In 2016 he was appointed by The Queen to chair the Board of Civil Service Commission, a post he holds until 2021. In this role he ensures the UK Civil Service is impartial and that appointments are made openly, fairly and on merit. He has reported to five Prime Ministers.
Mr Watmore was Chief Executive of the Football Association in 2009 to 2010 and during his time there he launched the Women’s Super League and the St. George’s Park Project. He went on to become a member of the England 2015 Rugby World Cup Board.
He has also been a board member of the English Institute of Sport from 2002-2015 and an independent non-executive director of the English Football League. He chaired Quantum Sports, the sports management business but stood down from that role in 2018.
He has been a Church Commissioner, a non-executive director at the Office of the Information Commissioner and Chair of Trustees at the Migraine Trust charity.
The dedicated Nominations Committee was led by Lucy Pearson and comprised four ECB board members and one independent:
-Barry O’Brien, ECB Non-Executive Director and former Chair of Glamorgan County Cricket Club;
-Brenda Trenowden, ECB Non-Executive Director, Global Co-Chair of the 30% Club and Partner at PwC UK;
-Jim Wood, ECB Non-Executive Director and former Chair of Devon County Cricket Club; and
-Sir Andrew Strauss, former England captain, who was invited to join the Committee because of his significant cricket experience.
The ECB worked with Odgers Berndtson, a leading executive search and recruitment consultancy, to ensure it attracted a wide and diverse range of candidates. The process to identify the right candidate was as follows:
-Initial telephone conversation with candidates
-Meeting between candidates and recruiter
-Creation of longlist
-Meeting with multiple senior ECB figures
-Creation of shortlist
-Final presentations to Nominations Committee
-Recommendation by Nominations Committee to ECB Board
-Decision and approval by ECB Board
-Ratification by ECB members at AGM on May 13