Clarke joins Derbyshire as captain
Clarke fell out of favour at The Oval mid-way through last season and his move away from London had been on the cards for some time. He has played two Tests and 20 ODIs for England, but is well out of the running for the current squad under Peter Moores.
Although Derbyshire are a second division club the captaincy offer will have been a major factor in Clarke opting for the move north. He fills the role vacated by Simon Katich who decided not to return for another season.
"My ambition is to play for England again and I think Derbyshire is the best place for me to achieve that ambition," Clarke told the Press Association. "The club is looking to go forward and that really excited me. The chance to be captain played a part in my decision because I have always wanted to be a leader but I was more interested in where Derbyshire want to go.
"I am looking at this as a long-term move. I was at Surrey since I was a young lad and it's always difficult to leave but I felt I needed a fresh start. I could have gone to other counties that are regarded as bigger but I see this as one of the best career moves I have made.
John Morris, Derbyshire's head of cricket, said: "I am delighted to have signed a player of Rikki's quality - he will be a massive addition to our squad. The great thing about Rikki is that despite his already fantastic record, he still wants to improve and he quite rightly has ambitions to play for England again in the future."
Clarke is the latest signing made by Derbyshire since the end of the season. His former Surrey team-mate Nayan Doshi has joined the club along with John Sadler from Leicestershire. They are also still chasing Mahela Jayawardene to be their overseas player.