Derek Bowden, a former chief executive at Ipswich Town FC, has been named as the new chief executive at Essex. He will join the club early in the season.

Bowden joins Essex at a vital time in the county's history. Agreement has been reached for an 80m redevelopment of the County Ground which will include the building of several apartment blocks around the ground to finance a new pavilion, media box, cricket school, car park, public square and bridge over the River Cam.

Before joining Ipswich, Bowden spent more than 18 years in senior management roles at Saatchi & Saatchi, the global advertising agency.

Nigel Hilliard, chairman of Essex Cricket, said, "Derek has a wealth of experience in the commercial and sporting world, which will be of great benefit to the club at a time when we are embarking on a major redevelopment of the ground."

The first phase in the redevelopment is to build a block of 62 apartments on top of the current cricket club car park. Only a few remain unsold. Upon completion, Essex's capacity will rise by 2,000 to 8,000.

Bowden replaces David East who will soon take up the post of chief executive of Abu Dhabi cricket club and Emirates Cricket Board.