County news December 14, 2012

Durham chief exec to stand down

ESPNcricinfo staff

David Harker, chief executive at Durham, will step down from his role in May to pursue a private business venture. He will continue as a non-executive director.

Harker has worked at Durham throughout their transformation from fledgling first-class county into one of the leading clubs in the country. He initially joined as a financial controller in 1991 and became chief executive in 1999.

A local-born businessman, Harker has overseen the development, and rebranding, of Chester-le-Street into an international venue, securing a first Ashes Test next summer. Under Harker's watch, Durham secured their first major trophy by winning the Friends Provident Trophy in 2007 and back-to-back County Championship titles in 2008 and 2009.

But the lure of a new business venture has proved too good an opportunity for Harker to pass up. "I have enjoyed a fantastic 20 years with Durham," he said. "The club has changed beyond recognition since I joined the team, and it's a real honour to have played a part in the fantastic achievements made here.

"But with the Ashes secured in 2013 - something we could once have scarcely imagined happening in Durham - and a very strong and committed management team now on board, I had been thinking that the coming year may be the one in which I looked for a new challenge.

"Of course, whatever you achieve, there is always the temptation to stay on and reach the next goal and the next one after that - which explains why I have been here for such a long time - but it does feel like now is the time to step aside and pass on the reins to someone else."

Harker leaves considerable boots to fill and as such, Clive Leach, Durham chairman, said there will be no rush to find a replacement. "David has made a significant contribution to the club during the course of his career and we'll now be taking stock and ensuring that we make the decision that is right for the long term future of the club.

"We are very sorry to see David go," Leach said. "He has been so good for the club and has helped to take it from the bottom - both as a business and sports team - to the top. Durham is now an organisation that is recognised on a national and international stage and this is, in no small part, down to the hard work of David and his management team."