Matt Rawnsley, a former Worcestershire player and businessman, is poised to be announced as the new chief executive of Worcestershire.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Rawnsley has won he role ahead of other shortlisted candidates including Vikram Solanki, a former captain and past chairman of the Professional Cricketers Association, and an assistant coach at Surrey.
Rawnsley, 41, made 100 appearances as a left-arm spinner for Worcestershire across all formats between 1996 and 2002.
But it is his subsequent business experience which also attracted Worcestershire. Rawnsley has been a director since 2013 of the Barnes Group (UK) Ltd. The engineering company is based in Evesham, and deals in the production of industrial and aerospace consumer products and springs.
Rawnsley inherits a county in a state of flux, not to say tension, following the departure of the director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, after a 33-year association with the club.
Rhodes was sacked following an internal investigation into his failure to report the arrest of Alex Hepburn on suspicion of rape in early April; he did not inform the club’s management until the player was charged in November. Rhodes was driven by what he saw as his duty of care towards his own player and even negotiated a new contract for Hepburn at the club.
As part of the fallout, Rawnsley is expected to gain more powers than his predecessor as CEO, Tom Scott. Worcestershire members will decide at the annual meeting on March 22 whether to accept proposals that the CEO has overall responsibility for the club’s affairs, rather than be on the same level as the director of cricket, as is the current set-up.
Such uncertainty is not ideal for a county that won promotion to the first division of the Specsavers Championship in September, but which has yo-yoed between the two divisions for the past decade.
Worcestershire, among the smaller first-class counties, have made a profit for six successive seasons and became a successful breeding ground for players under Rhodes.
Rawnsley faces many challenges in continuing that trend and in further developing a New Road ground which lies on a flood plain of the adjacent River Severn.