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CEO Blog: a busy time at Lord's

over 8 years ago | Uncategorised

It’s been a busy time at Lord’s since my appointment as CEO on 6 October. Friends of mine always accuse me of being on Easy Street during the winter months with no cricket or cricketers to occupy our time. Sadly the reverse is very much true – all our planning for future seasons starts in October and, with the staff changes, there is an awful lot going on.

It’s also a busy time at Lord’s with the dismantling of the Warner Stand now virtually complete. The ground normally resembles a ghost town at this time of year with most of MCC's part-time staff now in hibernation but they have been replaced by an array of builders who are working at an incredible pace to get the new stand ready for the June Test Match, it’s an impressive site. They’re on broadly the same timescales as we had to build the extension to the Radlett CC pavilion so you can understand the pace they’re working at.

As for Middlesex, you will have seen that at our November Board meeting, Chairman Ian Lovett has informed the Board that he wishes to stand down at the end of the year. Over the past nine years, Ian has been without doubt the most committed County Chairman in the country. During his tenure, the club has undergone a complete transformation and we are now once again a county respected and admired by all. Most of all, he has been a true Members’ Chairman, with the views of members at the forefront of our strategy at all times. This has ensured the club has always been a happy place to be a member of, or indeed to work for. His contribution has been huge and the club owes him a great debt of gratitude. We are fortunate however, that we have Mike O’Farrell, our current Treasurer, to replace him on 1 January – Mike is steeped in the club’s history from being an aspiring second eleven player through to his current role; I’m really looking forward to working for him.

Most of our players flee the country to warmer climes in October so we get a little respite. Thankfully all those who ventured to the Munich Oktoberfest came back in one piece. Gus and I have been working on our overseas player strategy for next year. This is an increasingly difficult task these days, with IPL and the 12 month Test schedule making player availability both limited and uncertain but we’re moving towards a solution for both the main overseas player and T20. I’m not quite sure when we might sign some deals but we are now clear on our preferred targets and are working with them. You may have read that Chris Rogers has signed for Somerset for 2016, Chris has been a magnificent cricketer for us but he wasn’t quite the right fit for us next season due to his limited enthusiasm for white ball cricket and we wish him well with his new county. The path from Lord’s to Taunton is well-trodden and I am sure he will excel there.

As regards non-cricket matters, we are fully focussed on business planning. We have started the process of devising a new five-year strategic plan through to the end of 2020. I was keen to involve a member on this working party and am incredibly fortunate that Ian Harris has agreed to help me with this process. Ian, who may be known to many of you, is a hugely passionate Middlesex man who is also a highly successful strategic consultant and he was always my first choice to head up this group. The party also includes Angus Fraser, Katie Berry our Director of Development and Nick Compton and we will be working through most of the winter to complete the new strategy before the start of next season.

As one of my key objectives, I am looking to improve communication with members and the general membership experience. To this end, you may have already noticed the first of our monthly CEO Question Time interviews on our website and I will be publishing a regular blog. On a wider scale, Martin Hadland, who has been a member for many years, is helping me devise a membership communication strategy and has already done an awful lot of work in this area. Our next steps are to issue a survey to a random sample of members and to conduct some focus groups with members to ensure that members’ views are front and centre of this process.

The first time I met Martin, he was presenting me in September with a members’ petition asking for the retention of 16 County Championship matches in future seasons! Since that point we have stayed in touch and his business background and dedication to the club make him the perfect man to help drive this area.

Which brings me to the domestic structure. This has been discussed at length both at our Executive Board and between ourselves and the ECB. I understand that Members are somewhat nervous about what the future may hold but our Board have adopted a categoric and unambiguous position. We support the retention of a 16 match County Championship and will continue to do so. We believe this is the view that best represents the opinion of our Members.

Until next month.



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