Ashley Giles has been confirmed as the ECB's new Managing Director of England Men's Cricket, and will take up the role in January ahead of the team's tour of the Caribbean.
Giles, who played 54 Tests as a left-arm spinner, including the 2005 Ashes victory, is currently Sport Director at Warwickshire. He replaces Andrew Strauss, who stepped down in October for family reasons.
"I am delighted to be joining the ECB and shaping the future of England cricket throughout the men's game," said Giles.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity and excited about working with some talented people. The legacy left by Andrew Strauss has put the performance programme in a stable place. It is fundamental that I facilitate the great work currently being carried out, meet our objectives and help our sport achieve great things in the coming years both domestically and internationally."
Giles, 45, joins the ECB at the start of what promises to be one of the most crucial years in the history of English cricket. With a home World Cup closely followed by the Ashes, two competitions for which the team are current favourites, there is expectation and opportunity for the ECB, as well as considerable jeopardy if they fail to make the impact that might be expected of a side that, in white-ball cricket in particular, has transformed its horizons since the ignominy of the 2015 World Cup.
Much of the credit for the upturn in white-ball fortunes can be attributed to Strauss, whose appointment of Trevor Bayliss as head coach was made in recognition of the need to seize on the transformative opportunities offered by a home World Cup - something that England singularly failed to acknowledge when they crashed out early in their last hosting of the event in 1999.
"I believe it is important for the game to have a strong international set-up, which is showing great promise in what will be a significant year for our red- and white-ball teams leading into the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup this summer and The Ashes," said Giles. "The next 12 months could transform the game like no other time in recent memory."
In a press release, the ECB stated that Giles "will be responsible for the long-term strategy of the England men's cricket teams and the performance pathways leading into the international teams. He will also be responsible for developing the right coaching and management structure to support it."
The appointment follows a month-long formal recruitment process led by ECB chief executive, Tom Harrison. As ESPNcricinfo reported last week, Giles emerged as the standout candidate after several significant rivals for the role, including Andy Flower, Martyn Moxon and the ECB director of women's cricket, Clare Connor, all chose not to pursue their interest.
"We were fortunate throughout this process to interview some of the most talented and respected people in the game," said Harrison.
"Ashley was the standout candidate amongst a very strong field. He will bring a fresh perspective to the role and build on the excellent work carried out by Andrew Strauss over the past three and a half years. He has a tremendous passion for England cricket, extensive knowledge of our county game, and a wealth of experience from playing at the highest level to becoming a respected leader in the sport.
"He will lead the England men's teams forward in what is a pivotal year with an ICC Men's Cricket World Cup and the Specsavers Ashes Series, both on home soil. This is a key appointment and we are excited about Ashley's arrival."
It's quite a comeback at the ECB from Giles, who was England's limited-overs coach from 2012 to 2014, and a national team selector for six years from 2008. On his watch, England reached the final of the 2013 Champions Trophy, but he was sacked in the wake of their poor showing at the World T20 in Bangladesh the following year - his dismissal being signed off by the man whose role he now fills, the original England team director, Paul Downton.
Prior to his move into coaching, Giles played for Warwickshire for 13 years and, following his retirement in 2007, became the club's director of cricket, leading them to the championship title in 2012.
He subsequently took over as head coach and cricket director at Lancashire, and in his first season at Old Trafford, he won the Blast and led the county to promotion to Division One of the County Championship.
He returned to Warwickshire as Sport Director in January 2017, in the wake of their relegation from the Championship top flight, and oversaw an immediate return as Division Two champions, as well as finalists in the T20 Blast.
"Finally, I would like thank Warwickshire County Cricket Club and in particular Chairman, Norman Gascoigne, and Chief Executive, Neil Snowball, for their guidance and support during my time at Edgbaston."