A message to Surrey members’ and supporters from interim Chair Martin Eadon.

Richard Thompson

Last week we said goodbye to our Chair, Richard Thompson, who took up his appointment as Chair of the ECB.

Richard was Chair of Surrey County Cricket Club for 12 years, having been first elected to our General Committee in 1998 and a member of our Board since 2003.

Richard leaves an extraordinary legacy.

Under his leadership the Club has been transformed:

He recruited two outstanding Chief Executives – Richard Gould at the beginning of his time as Chair and Steve Elworthy towards the end. He brought in two brilliant Directors of Cricket in Alec Stewart and Ebony Rainford-Brent.

He built a top-class and diverse Board.

Our membership has grown to more than 17000.

We now have a £45m business, with a Conference & Events business delivering £6m and growing. This off the field performance enables us to create the financial resources to develop The Kia Oval and to create high quality additional facilities for our growing membership, most notably the recently completed Galadari Stand.

There were some tough times as well, which needed Richard’s sound judgment and cool head under pressure, most recently for example through the challenges of the pandemic.

Richard himself will say that the highlights of his time as Chair were the Club’s achievements on the field – seeing home-grown talent go on to play vital roles for their country and of course winning the County Championship in 2018.

Perhaps most importantly Richard built a great culture at the Club, built on strong values of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, and doing the right thing, reminding us continually that Surrey is a Members’ Club. He balanced ambition for the Club with a deep respect for our heritage. And he gave others the confidence to be bold, most notably championing Ebony’s brilliant ACE programme.

Richard was an inspirational leader, and was the architect of the modern Surrey, a legacy which will not fade. He leaves with many, many friends here.

He has been for some time a leading voice in English cricket and now takes on the leadership of the ECB, with a number of challenges and opportunities ahead. This is Surrey’s loss, but cricket’s gain.

On behalf of everyone at Surrey I would like to wish Richard the very best in his new role.

Chair process

At the General Committee meeting last week I was appointed Interim Chair. This is an honour and a privilege and I will serve the Club to the best of my abilities.

Following discussions at our General Committee last week, I would like to give you an update on our process for the appointment of our next Chair.

We will shortly establish a Nominations Committee, which I will chair, to conduct the process on behalf of the General Committee. The Nominations Committee will include members of the General Committee and the Board.

This will be a thorough and inclusive process: the role will be advertised and will be open to applicants from inside and outside the current membership of the Club who can demonstrate the required experience, skills and personal qualities, and above all the commitment to Surrey County Cricket Club. We will engage external specialist consultants to ensure a professional process.

It is our expectation that the process will be concluded in 2023 with the successful candidate appointed as Chair Elect, and then subject to election by the General Committee before the 2024 AGM.

I will continue in the role as Interim Chair until the successful candidate is elected by the General Committee.

I am very pleased also to be able to announce that Warwick Jones, a member of the Audit, Risk and Governance Committee and until recently a member of the General Committee, has agreed to take on the role of Interim Treasurer through this period.

Men’s Cricket High Performance Review

The High Performance Review report was issued on 26 August, and we are now in a period of consultation with the First Class Counties. The review seeks to identify actions which can lead to an improvement in the performance of the England men’s team across all formats, and these may have an effect on the domestic game. The report was discussed at our General Committee last week. We are committed to a constructive and considered approach – there are some complex issues which require careful consideration, and any proposals need to work for our players and our Members. There are as yet no firm proposals, but it is already agreed that there will be no changes to the County Championship for the 2023 season. When there are firm proposals for 2024 and beyond these will be considered by our Board and General Committee who will of course take into account the views of Members.

We will continue to update Members with developments.

And finally and most importantly – cricket!

On Monday we are back in action against Northants with the first of our final three County Championship matches. I am sure you will all join me in wishing our team the very best in their bid to repeat the success of 2018.

We are delighted that the Oval Invincibles women lifted the trophy for the second year running – many congratulations to the team and the coaching staff.

And over the next five days we host the third and deciding Test against South Africa. We look forward to an exciting finish to the Series here at the Kia Oval.

Martin Eadon

Interim Chair