Watmore replaces Graves as ECB Chair

28 Feb 2020

By: Sport Industry Group

The ECB has named The FA's former CEO Ian Watmore as the next Chair of the organisation, succeeding Colin Graves, who will leave the post in November 2020.

Watmore was in charge of the FA in 2009, overseeing the launch of the FA Women’s Super League and start of the St George’s Park Project, while the 61-year-old has also previously held board positions with the English Football League and the 2015 Rugby World Cup - among others.

The ECB says he was offered the position following a search and selection process run by a dedicated Nominations Committee, chaired by ECB Non-Executive Director and ex-England cricketer, Lucy Pearson, and which included former England Captain and current Chair of the ECB Cricket Committee, Sir Andrew Strauss.

He will take over the role on 1st December 2020.

Speaking of his appointment, Watmore 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.”

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.”

Colin Graves, the current Chair of the ECB, has held the post since May 2015 and extended his initial five-year term by six months in order to oversee the inaugural season of The Hundred. 

He 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.”

The ECB says that Watmore’s appointment as Chair-Elect has been made nine months early in order to allow time for him to shadow his predecessor and ensure a smooth transition into the role.