Mark Williams, CEO of a financial services company, has been appointed CEO of Eastern Province (EP) Cricket, where the Warriors franchise is based. Williams takes over from Jesse Chellan, who will be the ICC's regional director for cricket in Africa, from September. Chellan spent 17 months with Eastern Province, during which time they secured new sponsorships and underwent stadium upgrades.
Williams has been involved in cricket in the region in the past. He was the lead independent director on the EP Cricket Board when they were placed under administration by Cricket South Africa. As a result, he is familiar with the turbulence at the union, which resulted in former president Graeme Sauls being ousted after allegedly making several decisions without board approval. Since then, cricket in the province has stabilised and under Chellan's tenure, EP won the most improved affiliate prize CSA's annual awards in 2016.
Williams is a Port Elizabeth local who attended the Bethelsdorp High School and studied at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He holds an MBA and has worked in banking for 24 years. In 2008, he was awarded the Young Global Leader Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Among the challenges facing Williams will be to ensure St George's Park continues to remain among South Africa's premier Test grounds. It will host the Boxing Day Test match against Sri Lanka later this year as proof of its prestige. More pressingly, he will want to ensure the franchise, Warriors, add to their trophy cabinet after several seasons without success. Warriors have not won a title in six seasons since the 2009-10 season when Russell Domingo was in charge. In their quest to end the drought, they have some new additions to their squad, most notably international fast bowler Kyle Abbott, who moved from the Durban-based Dolphins.
The Dolphins are now the only franchise without a CEO. Pete de Wet had resigned in June to take up a post at New Zealand's Central Districts and has yet to be replaced.