Yorkshire chairman Steve Denison has announced his resignation from the board, following the investigation into the collapse of BHS that saw him fined and removed from the register of statutory auditors for 15 years.
Although Denison had previously indicated he hoped to stay in his position at Yorkshire, he has now accepted that ECB regulations require him to step down after serving on the board for six years - three as chairman.
"It's with deep regret that I'm resigning from the board of Yorkshire CCC with immediate effect," Denison said in a statement. "Despite enjoying wide-ranging support from the club's stakeholders, including directors, staff and members, I believe the ECB's regulations mean that I'm unable to remain in post and I don't want my situation to be a distraction at a time when cricket is going through a crucial period of change."
Denison, a former partner at accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, was last month fined GBP500,000 - subsequently reduced to GBP325,000 - by the Financial Reporting Council and signed an undertaking not to take part in any audit work for 15 years for his part in the audit of BHS ahead of its controversial sale by Philip Green in 2014. Denison was lead partner on the BHS audit.
The ECB's Fit and Proper Person test states that an individual cannot be on a board or general committee if they are "subject to any form of suspension, disqualification or striking-off by a professional body including, without limitation, the Law Society, the Solicitors' Regulation Authority, the Bar Council or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales or any equivalent body in any jurisdiction outside England and Wales, whether such suspension,disqualification or striking-off is direct or indirect."
Denison said it had been a "huge privilege" to serve Yorkshire during a period in which the county won consecutive Championship titles, and also secured a much-needed redevelopment of the old Rugby Stand and the return of Ashes cricket after a decade. "To say I'm heartbroken is a massive understatement," he said.
"On the field, back to back County Championship titles and the continual development and nurturing of fine Yorkshire and England players will forever hold a special place in my heart.
"I'm also extremely proud of the progress which we have achieved off the field, including sustained growth in membership in each of the past six years, the successful turnaround of the club's finances, restructuring the board to include the appointment of the first female and South Asian directors in the club's 155-year history and the ongoing redevelopment of Headingley, securing its future as a world-class venue that will continue to stage international cricket including the 2019 and 2023 Ashes."
Mark Arthur, Yorkshire's chief executive, expressed his regret at Denison's departure but added the board would meet soon to appoint a successor.
"It is a really sad day, not only for Yorkshire cricket but for the game as a whole," Arthur said. "Steve has achieved so much, both as a director and chairman of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club over the last six years. We will greatly miss his input and contribution.
"I'd like to pay a personal tribute to his support of the executive team and we wouldn't be undertaking the development of the Emerald Stand in conjunction with Leeds Rugby without his significant input.