Yorkshire CCC's chairman-elect Harry Chathli outlines his vision to help restore 'northern powerhouse of English cricket' to its former glories
The club has announced that an extraordinary general meeting will be held at Headingley on September 28 with the aim of confirming Chathli’s appointment.
The meeting will start at 9am in the East Stand Long Room – prior to the third day’s play of the County Championship match against Worcestershire on the scheduled penultimate day of the season.
A two-thirds majority of votes is needed.
Chathli, a lifelong cricket fan and respected business leader, wants Yorkshire to move on from its darkest chapter.
The club has been hollowed out by the racism crisis and is currently in the process of trying to pay back the circa £15m owed to the family trust of Colin Graves, its former chair, in addition to raising several million pounds of working capital, with various refinancing/ground sale options being considered.
In a letter to members ahead of the EGM, Chathli writes: “The events of recent years have forced us to take stock of how we, at Yorkshire, see the future of English cricket.
“From the ashes of the turmoil of the past three years, the club has risen and taken significant strides and made tangible progress to alter a culture that was regarded as not welcoming to all.
“The board has worked tirelessly on the club’s behalf and, once appointed, my intention is to build on their efforts.”
Chathli, who was proposed by the board for the chair role in June, would succeed interim chair Tanni Grey-Thompson and, in the permanent capacity, Lord Kamlesh Patel.
The EGM will also be asked to approve certain rule changes which enable his appointment outside the annual general meeting process, with the board adamant that it is not in the club’s best interests to be without a permanent chair at this time.
Chathli, whose daughter, Kira, plays for South East Stars and Oval Invincibles, is keen for cricket to be back front and centre at Yorkshire going forward. However, he believes that can only happen if the foundations beneath are stable and secure, and with one eye on developing and encouraging youngsters.
“I believe cricket excellence is built on inclusivity and financial stability,” his manifesto states.
“As a parent of children who have gone through the system at a club level, through the pathway process and now a representative cricketer, I have seen first-hand what has and what has not worked for us and others. I intend to bring my perspective to enable the broadest group of children to filter through our system and ensure that we have a wide pool to choose from.”
Chathli grew up playing cricket in the suburbs of Mumbai.
“I grew up with a passion for it and in awe of those who were able to do magical things with a stick of wood and a leather ball,” he tells the Yorkshire members.
“It is this passion for cricket that connects me to Yorkshire. Yes, I have friends and business connections here; however, it is cricket that keeps bringing me back.”
Chathli describes Yorkshire as “the northern powerhouse of English cricket” and feels that his professional expertise equips him for the role.
“In my working life, I have been a management consultant advising governments on their economic reforms,” he adds.
“This experience has taught me the ability to see how organisations and companies function, what gaps need filling and how to go about implementing change.
“I believe this experience will help me create structures, if needed, and bring together various parties – state and independent schools, clubs, local authorities, to name a few, to help us continue on our journey towards becoming a truly inclusive and sustainable organisation.
“Over the past 25 years, I have led communications strategy for companies listed on various stock exchanges in key financial centres around the globe. I also am chair of private and public companies.
“My work has involved media relations, investor relations, crisis communications and helping companies raise money.
“I have done this for large FTSE companies as well as small and mid-size enterprises. Through this work, I have built a network that I believe will be helpful to The Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”
Chathli, who also enjoys “mentoring entrepreneurs” is already a familiar face at Yorkshire matches and attended this week’s Scarborough festival.
His letter concludes: “There is much work to do at Yorkshire and I believe I have the skill-sets to help the club achieve all it wants to alongside the board and, more importantly, the members. I remain committed to seeing the game I love fulfil its ambition to keep churning out cricketers that keep us purring and to representing Yorkshire at the top table of cricket in England and Wales.”