County news – Middlesex reopen search for new chair after drawing blank in recruitment process

Middlesex have reopened their search for a successor to Mike O’Farrell, their outgoing chair, after failing to identity a suitable replacement right through the original recruitment process.

The situation used to be discussed at a board assembly this week, with the expectation that an interim chair will be appointed at the club’s forthcoming AGM, with O’Farrell because of step down from the role on April 4.

“The Nominations Committee will begin the recruitment process again, with instant effect, as the search to find the correct chair for the club moving forwards continues,” Middlesex said in a remark.

“The importance of ensuring that Mike’s successor is the correct person for the role, who understands the unique challenges of everything it presents, is a critical factor in their appointment.”

The challenges at Middlesex vary from those at the other first-class counties, in that the club does not own its home ground, Lord’s, and instead has to administer an ongoing relationship with their landlords, MCC.

O’Farrell, who took over from Ian Lovett in 2015, attracted criticism final year when – right through the DCMS make a choice committee hearings into racism in cricket – he gave the impression to defend the lack of diversity in Middlesex’s pathway programme by suggesting that Black people prefer football to cricket, and that Asians are more interested in furthering their education.

And it used to be maybe with that issue in brain that Ed Warner, the former chair of UK Athletics who put himself forward as one of the most original seven candidates for the role, recently wrote in City AM approximately a process that he described as being “at turns fascinating, frustrating, farcical and fun”.

“It used to be lucid that questions approximately equality, diversity and inclusion would be front and centre,” Warner wrote. “But more surprising used to be the lack of emphasis at interview on sporting success, particularly for the men’s elite squad.”

Middlesex were recently promoted back to Division Probably the most County Championship, having final won the title back in 2016. The playing side of the club is a complex arrangement, and currently comprises Richard Johnson as first-team coach, Alan Coleman as director of cricket and Mark Lane as player pathway head coach, all of whom outline into Andrew Cornish as chief executive.

Cornish can be a candidate to step up as interim chair, with the club adding that the appointment, ‘must it be required, will be from the club’s Board or Executive Management group”.

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