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March 31, 2008
The ICC's search for a new CEO has been dealt an embarrassing blow with the news that Imtiaz Patel, who was offered the job two weeks ago, has "withdrawn his interest" in the position. The decision was conveyed by Patel, currently CEO of the South African media organisation SuperSport, to the ICC's president-elect David Morgan on Sunday and announced on Monday.
The development means the ICC will have to once again cast its net to find a successor to Malcolm Speed, the incumbent since 2001 who steps down from the role after this year's ICC Annual Conference, which will take place between June 29 and July 4. An ICC statement said the committee charged with identifying a successor - comprising Morgan, ICC president Ray Mali, vice-president Sharad Pawar and the chairman of Cricket Australia, Creagh O'Connor - will now reconvene.
"My family and I have reflected deeply on the wonderful opportunity which the ICC presented to me to fulfill such an important role in a sport which is in my blood," Patel said. "After considering my position carefully, I have, however, resolved to remain in my beloved country, South Africa, and continue in my challenging and fulfilling role as chief executive officer of SuperSport International."
Patel was announced Speed's successor on March 17, though the ICC failed to seek Patel's consent for the post. The next day, Patel said he would be "considering my position very carefully during the coming weeks" and a spokesman for SuperSport told Cricinfo he had been offered the job but was weighing his options.
"We are obviously disappointed that Imtiaz has chosen to withdraw his interest, having regarded him highly," Morgan said. "However, the fact that Imtiaz has withdrawn does not mean that, by default, we will be left with a candidate who is, in any way, inferior to him.
"In fact, we have been fortunate to have several high calibre candidates on the shortlist, all of whom bring something slightly different to the table," Morgan said. "The role of ICC CEO, while challenging, represents a huge opportunity for the successful candidate. It is an opportunity for that person to help forge the future of our great game at a time of huge innovation and excitement.
"We remain committed to securing the services of the right candidate and we anticipate being able to complete that task in the very near future."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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