Harry Chathli has been confirmed as Yorkshire’s new chair, following a lengthy search for a successor to Lord Kamlesh Patel, who stood down in March.
Chathli, 58, will take over from the club’s interim chair, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, following an extraordinary general meeting, having joined Yorkshire’s board as a non-executive director in June. He will serve a three-year term.
“It’s an honour and privilege to be appointed chair of one of the most iconic clubs,” Chathli said. “Cricket is at an inflexion point with unprecedented growth reaching new audiences who are attracted by the variety of formats. Yorkshire has played its part in this growth within the men’s cricket and has also been at the forefront of development of women’s cricket in the country. I am also proud of the fact we are championing disability and LGBTQ+ cricket.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tanni for her excellent stewardship of the club through a very challenging period this year.”
It is hoped that Chathli’s appointment can draw a line under a turbulent period for Yorkshire, in the wake of the racism crisis that ripped through the club, following Azeem Rafiq’s revelations about his treatment during his playing days.
Earlier this year, Yorkshire pleaded guilty to four amended charges of bringing the game into disrepute and were fined £400,000, as well as handed points deductions in the County Championship and other domestic competitions, for their mishandling of Rafiq’s case.
Lord Patel, Chathli’s predecessor as full-time chair, was appointed to the role in November 2021 at the height of the crisis, which included the suspension of Headingley’s hosting rights for major matches, and the loss of a raft of principal sponsors including Emerald, Yorkshire Tea and Nike.
Patel also sanctioned the sacking of 16 members of Yorkshire’s coaching and back-room staff in a bid to create “a culture which is progressive and inclusive”. That decision was later found to have been “procedurally unfair”, with Yorkshire required to set aside £1.9 million for compensation and legal affairs.
Chathli, whose daughter, Kira, plays for South East Stars and was part of the Oval Invincibles team that won the 2022 Hundred, is a highly regarded business leader, and an experienced international capital markets expert, with a 25-year track record of advising global companies, organisations and government agencies.
Stephen Vaughan, Yorkshire’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to welcome Harry to the Board and as Chair at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
“Harry brings strong business acumen and experience, and I am sure this positive impact that will benefit Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Yorkshire Family as a whole.
“The Board looks forward to working with Harry and collectively we are committed to delivering long-term success that YCCC members deserve.”