Chief Executive Will Brown to leave Gloucestershire

England

Gloucestershire have announced that chief executive Will Brown will leave the club this summer, ending his 11-year association with the county.

Brown succeeded Tom Richardson in 2013 and oversaw a Royal London Cup win in 2015 and promotion to Division One. Bristol’s County Ground has also become a regular host of international men’s and women’s cricket thanks to redevelopments that included the installation of floodlights a decade ago. He also pushed the club to become more environmentally sustainable while establishing itself as a leader in cricket for its community work.

His departure comes at a challenging time with the county uncertain of its future. Last month, Gloucestershire reported a loss of £1.19 million in its annual accounts, more than twice the shortfall of £570,000 from the previous period in 2022/23.

The cost of living crisis, day-to-day running costs, and a washed-out ODI at Bristol between England and Ireland in September 2023 were blamed for the current situation. Given the club’s non-Test and Hundred hosting status, those internationals usually provide a much-needed windfall for the counties. An independent audit by chartered accountants, Saffery LLP, revealed net liabilities of £5,019,000, leaving Gloucestershire in breach of its banking covenants and casting “significant doubt on the club’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

The club’s dire financial situation has led it to explore selling its historic ground at Nevill Road. Purchased with the assistance of WG Grace in 1889, it is estimated to be worth between £25 and £40 million now. Gloucestershire have already identified a site to build a new venue, north of Bristol near the M4.

At the end of April, Gloucestershire members voted out David Jones as chair, while acting chair Steve Nelson and honorary treasurer Rebecca Watkin will also leave at the end of the season. Last week, Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, declared his interest in taking over the club in an open letter to members. In a statement released on Wednesday, Brown stated his decision to move on was made earlier this year.

“I have absolutely loved my time at Gloucestershire Cricket and it has been one of the greatest honours of my life to serve the club I have supported my whole life.

“The decision to leave is not one I have taken lightly and it has taken me months of agonising to reach this point. This decision is one I made much earlier in the year and is a personal one based on what I believe the club needs and my own future, especially in light of my bike accident of last year.

“I leave in the knowledge that we have a fantastic group of players, coaches, staff and volunteers who are completely dedicated to the Club and its future.”

“In the last few months we have re-structured our coaching and finance departments, acquired financial support for the future of the Club, secured Men’s and Women’s International cricket all the way through to 2031 and are making progress in our exploration of a move from the Nevil Road site.

“Over the next few months up until my departure we will also secure additional investment into Women & Girls cricket locally, confirm our new County Partnership Agreement (CPA) with the ECB, bid for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2026 and work with the ECB on the future of the Hundred and Gloucestershire’s role within in it.”

Commenting on Brown’s departure, acting chair Steve Nelson said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Will over the last five years and we are very grateful for all he has done at Nevil Road. His tenure has seen a step change in hosting international cricket and this will very much be his legacy to the club.

“He has always been a very positive leader, a skill that came to the fore when faced with the difficult challenges of running the club throughout the pandemic. This needed him to be truly resilient, taking others with him, and he rose to the challenge in these difficult times. He has also worked tirelessly on ensuring the club builds its reputation for environmental sustainability and community work which will be key building blocks for the future success of the club.

“All of us at Gloucestershire wish him the very best in whatever challenge he takes on next and he will be missed!”

“Gloucestershire County Cricket Club board are already working on plans for the leadership of the club in in the short and long term, including recruiting a new CEO. Members will be kept informed as these plans develop over the coming weeks.”

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