The ICC board has decided to relieve Manu Sawhney as the CEO with immediate effect, ending a long-running saga at the very top of the organisation's management. The decision was taken by the ICC board at an emergency meeting on Thursday, chaired by Greg Barclay, the ICC chairman.

"The International Cricket Council today announced that Chief Executive Manu Sawhney will leave the organisation with immediate effect. Geoff Allardice will continue as Acting CEO supported by the Leadership Team working closely with the ICC Board," the ICC said in a media release.

The decision was not put up for a formal vote but it is believed no objections were raised by any of the directors on the board.

Sawhney had effectively been out of office since March this year, when he was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. That move was recommended to Barclay by the ICC's Human Resources committee, headed by ECB chairman Ian Watmore. It was based on the findings of a cultural review carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) at the start of the year, one which made a number of allegations against Sawhney's management style.

Those included charges of bullying certain staff members, as well as exhibiting acts of "physical aggression, such as fist banging" and that he had impacted the health and wellbeing of staff through his behaviour. One charge was that he had taken and implemented decisions without properly consulting the board.

Those allegations were spelt out to Sawhney at a virtual disciplinary hearing with Barclay on June 17, the only one Sawhney faced after his suspension. The ICC ethics officer Peter Nicholson was also present. At the hearing, reading from a prepared statement, Sawhney said he was the victim of a "premeditated witch hunt". He criticised the "four bullet points" of allegations as insubstantial and said they had the potential to rob him of his "livelihood" and hurt his "reputation". He also sent his statement to all the ICC directors, stating that he would contest any guilty verdict and "resist this blatant attempt to force me from office", which would set, he said, "an extremely dangerous precedent".

The full PwC report, including a review of the workings of the ICC board., was distributed to all directors on Thursday. Sawhney has, according to the ICC constitution, five days to lodge an appeal with the board. Sawhney, who took over from Dave Richardson as CEO in April 2019, did not respond to ESPNcricinfo's attempts to contact him about the ICC's decision.