Surrey are mourning the loss of Robert Elliott, who has died after a long illness. He served on the Kennington Oval Ltd board from 2003-11, the general committee in 2009-11 and the club board from 2011-23. Richard Spiller pays tribute to him.
The financial well-being of Surrey County Cricket Club owes much to the likes of Robert Elliott.
One of the country’s leading lawyers in the fields of banking and corporate restructuring, he was among the founder members of the Kennington Oval Limited board in 2003, which was set up as part of the club’s commercial expansion. To borrow the money needed to redevelop the Vauxhall end of the ground – what became the OCS and now JM Finn Stand – lenders required changes to be made.
Elliott, whose services were in high demand through his work for legal firm Linklaters, was approached by Paul Sheldon (chief executive 1996-2011) and David Stewart (chairman 2003-10), given his interest in cricket.
Sheldon recalls: “David and I begged Robert to join us as we knew he was the leading lawyer in London on mergers and acquisitions. He made a wonderful contribution, along with the likes of Ron Spinney and Ian Jamieson in their fields, to what we were doing.
“We had some very complicated contracts to negotiate in different areas and Robert was able to advise on those and oversee our legal relationships.
“The basis of the Surrey’s commercial success now is built on what we constructed then and I think it was the club’s lightbulb moment.”
Born in Newcastle in July 1952, Elliott was educated at Leeds Grammar School before moving on to London University. He rose to prominence at Wilde Sapte, joining Linklaters in 1990. There he jointly founded their corporate recovery and insolvency unit, his role as global head of banking seeing him called upon following the collapse of Lehman Brothers among instances amid the financial meltdown of 2008.
Elliott was elected as senior partner and chairman of Linklaters in 2011, remaining as a consultant when his five-year term was completed and going on to chair Permanent TSB Group Holdings.
Among a multitude of other interests were sailing and rugby, and he was chairman of governors at Tonbridge School until last year.
He leaves wife Sally, three children and grandchildren.