Former FA chief executive Ian Watmore to become ECB chairman | Sport

Ian Watmore, a former FA chief executive and senior civil servant, will succeed Colin Graves as the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Graves has held the post since May 2015, extending an initial five-year term by six months in order to oversee the inaugural season of The Hundred. He is understood to be in the running to become the next chairman of the International Cricket Council.

That position in charge of the world game becomes vacant when India’s Shashank Manohar steps down this year. But Graves, 72, will relinquish his role at the ECB at the end of November regardless, with the governing body announcing on Thursday evening that Watmore is now chair-elect and will begin working in a shadow capacity.

Watmore emerged as the nominations committee’s preferred candidate after a selection process overseen by Lucy Pearson, the ECB non-executive director and former international cricketer, and Andrew Strauss, the former England captain and director of cricket who is now chair of the ECB’s cricket committee.

The 61-year-old, whose appointment was approved unanimously by the 12-strong ECB board and is now awaiting ratification at the ECB AGM in May, is a former management consultant at Accenture of 24 years who moved into the upper levels of the British civil service in 2004 and has reported to five prime ministers.

As well as a brief stint in charge of the FA in 2009, when he oversaw the launch of the Women’s Super League and the St George’s Park Project, Watmore has previously held board positions with the English Institute of Sport, the English Football League and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

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Speaking about 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.”

Graves will depart the ECB having overseen the creation of The Hundred as part of a new £1.1bn broadcast deal that begins this year, as well as home World Cup wins for both the men’s and women’s teams and the move to a fully independent ECB board.

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