The ECB's board have appointed Cindy Butts as chair of the newly-established Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which was unveiled in November as part of the board's measures to drive out discrimination and increase diversity across the game.
Butts, whose other roles include serving on parliamentary committees and membership of Kick It Out's board of trustees, will work with the ECB board to "finalise the terms of reference" for the commission, and will lead the appointment process for other roles within it.
The commission "will independently gather and assess the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket and identify the actions the ECB will need to take to tackle these issues", according to an ECB statement.
The creation of the commission was announced in late 2020 following claims of institutional racism within the English game by several high-profile figures, including former England international Michael Carberry, the former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq, and the former Test umpire John Holder. Only this week, the ECB was accused of ignoring the Rooney Rule when appointing a new elite performance pathway coach.
Ian Watmore, the ECB's chairman, said: "The creation of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket is an important step in our ambition to make cricket a game for everyone. Cindy is extremely well-qualified to lead this work and will bring empathy, rigour and practical experience to the deliberations and recommendations of the commission."
Butts said: "I'm excited to be bringing together my lifelong love of cricket with my passion for equity and inclusion, to lead this work for the ECB. Over the coming months we will be looking to hear from a wide range of people who share a love of cricket, whether as spectators, players, coaches or administrators both present and past.
"While it's important we preserve the best of cricket's traditions, it is also important we identify ways it can evolve and innovate to attract and welcome diverse communities who can make an impact in all areas and at all levels of the game.
"I am committed to ensuring that cricket has a bright future in this country."
Brenda Trenowden, the senior independent director of the ECB, will lead the board's engagement with the commission. "Promoting equity, diversity and inclusion across the game is critical to the success of our game-wide strategy, Inspiring Generations, and our purpose of connecting communities through cricket," Trenowden said.
"Whilst we have taken a number of positive steps forward over recent years, we recognise that there is still a lot of work to do in this area. The commission will play a valuable role in helping us to really listen and understand the reality of the inclusion challenges in the game, so that we can focus our efforts to ensure that more people can say that cricket is a game for me."