Manu Sawhney has assumed formal charge as ICC chief executive officer with "immediate effect", three months before he was meant to start the job.
In January, the ICC Board approved Sawhney's appointment as the next ICC CEO to replace the incumbent, Dave Richardson, whose seven-year tenure comes ends with the World Cup. Sawhney was meant to work till July in tandem with Richardson, but the ICC has now said that with the transitioning having gone smoothly, he was ready to start the job from Monday.
Sawhney has attended various ICC discussions already and sat during the Chief Executives' Committee and Board meetings in February. It is understood that taking early charge would allow Sawhney to set the ball rolling on newer projects while allowing Richardson to focus on the World Cup.
One of the key and significant project that Sawhney has already started work on is the broadcast rights cycle after the 2023 World Cup. Currently Star India holds the rights for ICC's global events till then.
In a media release, the ICC said Sawhney had been working "alongside" Richardson for the past six weeks "to ensure a smooth transition for the organization".
Sawhney said he could not wait to start the new job, while outlining some of the key areas he would be focusing on: "I am excited by the opportunities ahead and I am looking forward to working in partnership with our Members, partners and staff to ambitiously accelerate the global growth of the game. Technology, engagement, women's cricket and driving greater value are key focus areas for us as we consider how we can innovate to transform the sport's long-term future and create a vibrant and sustainable sport globally."
India-born Sawhney, the unanimous choice of the nominations committee, came to prominence during a 17-year-long career at ESPN-Star Sports (ESS), where he rose to become managing director. It was in his time with the company that ESS sealed the broadcasting deal for global ICC events in the 2007-15 cycle. Sawhney then moved to Singapore Sports Hub (SSH), where he worked as CEO, and also sits on the audit committee of Manchester United Sports Ltd.