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News

Middlesex reopen search for new chair after drawing blank in recruitment process

Mike O'Farrell due to step down in April after eight-year tenure

Middlesex are searching for a successor to Mike O'Farrell  •  Getty Images

Middlesex are searching for a successor to Mike O'Farrell  •  Getty Images

Middlesex have reopened their search for a successor to Mike O'Farrell, the club's outgoing chair, after failing to identity a suitable replacement during the original recruitment process.
The situation was discussed at a board meeting this week, with the expectation that an interim chair will be appointed at the club's forthcoming AGM, with O'Farrell due to step down from the role on April 4.
"The nominations committee will begin the recruitment process again, with immediate effect, as the search to find the right chair for the club moving forwards continues," Middlesex said in a statement.
"The importance of ensuring that Mike's successor is the right person for the role, who understands the unique challenges of everything it presents, is a critical factor in their appointment."
The challenges at Middlesex differ from those at the other first-class counties, in that the club does not own its home ground, Lord's, and instead has to manage an ongoing relationship with their landlords, MCC.
O'Farrell, who took over from Ian Lovett in 2015, attracted criticism last year when - during the DCMS select committee hearings into racism in cricket - he appeared to defend the lack of diversity in Middlesex's pathway programme by suggesting that Black people prefer football to cricket, and that Asians are more interested in furthering their education.
And it was perhaps with that issue in mind that Ed Warner, the former chair of UK Athletics who put himself forward as one of the original seven candidates for the role, recently wrote in City AM about a process that he described as being "at turns fascinating, frustrating, farcical and fun".
"It was clear that questions about equality, diversity and inclusion would be front and centre," Warner wrote. "But more surprising was the lack of emphasis at interview on sporting success, especially for the men's elite squad."
Middlesex were promoted back to Division One of the County Championship last summer, having won the title back in 2016. The playing side of the club is a complex arrangement, and currently comprises Richard Johnson as first-team coach, Alan Coleman as director of cricket and Mark Lane as player pathway head coach, all of whom report into Andrew Cornish as chief executive.
Cornish could be a candidate to step up as interim chair, with the club adding that the appointment, "should it be required, will be from the club's board or executive management group".