Ian Watmore has decided to step down as the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with immediate effect after holding the position for over a year in his five-year contract.
Current ECB Deputy Chair, Barry O’Brien, will step up as interim Chair, but has indicated to the ECB that he will not be a candidate for the role. A process to find a new chair will begin shortly.
ESPNcricinfo reported that Ian Watmore has lost the confidence of the ECB board and the counties after the cancellation of the Pakistan tour and the failure to plan a proper domestic schedule for the next couple of years.
Ian Watmore’s official period started on September 1, 2020, in which he has had to battle the resumptions of cricket in the pandemic era. The ECB made large-scale redundancies and suffered serious financial pressures.
The role and its demands has taken a personal toll on me: Ian Watmore
The 63-year-old has also recently stood down from the position of First Civil Service Commissioner. He says that he “would now like to retire completely from work”.
Ian Watmore has had a heart problem and admitted the demands of the job have “taken have a personal toll” on him.
In a statement, Ian Watmore said, “It is with regret that I step down as Chair of the ECB, but I do so in mindfulness of my own wellbeing and that of the game which I love. I was appointed to the post in a pre-pandemic era, but Covid has meant the role and its demands on time are dramatically different to all our original expectations, which has taken a personal toll on me. Given this, the Board and I feel the ECB will be better served by a new Chair to take it forward post pandemic.”
“On a personal level, I also retired last month after five years at the Civil Service Commission and recently became a grandfather. I would now like to retire completely from work and enjoy our great game as a spectator.”
ESPNcricinfo reported that several counties reached out to the board members “to express their concerns” following a meeting of the county chairs last week where he was described “as somewhat confused” and “shambolic”.
Ian Watmore was a key figure in the decision to remove Manu Sawhney as ICC’s CEO. He has also given significant impetus for cricket’s possible inclusion in the Olympics.