Essex have announced that their chief executive officer, Derek Bowden, is to step down at the end of the month. Bowden is retiring from full-time work after almost eight years in charge of the business side at Chelmsford, and leaves with Essex having just won their fifth title since 2016.
Appointed in 2013 after the departure of David East, Bowden helped oversee the club's rise from a period of mediocrity in Division Two of the Championship to being the dominant first-class side in the country. In 2017, Essex won the County Championship for the first time in 25 years, then added a Championship and T20 double in 2019, and claimed the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy last month.
"I am extremely proud of what the club has achieved, particularly over the last five years, where after gaining promotion to Division One it has secured five trophies in five years, the high point being the winning of the 'double' in 2019," Bowden said. "I wish everyone at the club the best of luck for the future and hope that there is further success in the years to come."
Before their promotion in 2016, Essex had spent 14 seasons out of 17 in Division Two of the Championship. But Bowden set out a strategy to establish the club in the top tier, focused on bringing through local talent, and the appointment of Chris Silverwood as head coach saw them embark on their most successful period since the 1980s.
Silverwood took the team up and then claimed the Championship pennant at the first time of asking, before moving on to work with England. Under his successor, Anthony McGrath, Essex have since collected three more trophies, including a first title in T20 cricket.
Despite working with one of the smaller budgets in the county game, the club have remained largely debt free during Bowden's tenure, with long-term plans to try and develop the county ground currently on hold.
With Bowden stepping aside imminently, Essex's chairman, John Faragher, will take up chief executive duties in the interim, while the club begins its search for a successor.
Faragher said: "I would like to thank Derek for all his hard work and support during his time at Essex. The last five years have been really special for the club, and Derek has been instrumental in taking the business to the next level. We wish Derek all the very best for the future."