The appointment of Simon Storey to the role of Chief Executive of Derbyshire County Cricket Club, announced this morning, is further evidence of the increasing professionalism of the club.
The new CEO comes with an excellent track record, most recently as Country Manager for Johnson and Johnson, based in Switzerland and at 42 has the kind of world-class CV in which any major company would be interested. That Derbyshire has managed to attract a man of that calibre is further evidence that we are moving in the right direction. The people running Derbyshire cricket are of an age where they have plenty to prove and the energy with which to do it. The pairing of Chris Grant and Storey could be a highly effective and hopefully long-term one.
Equally important is that the new man will have access and a full handover period with Keith Loring, who will remain at the club in a consultancy role with a remit of generating new commercial opportunities and increasing advertising and commercial revenue. It is the first time in my recollection that the club has had a seamless handover in this crucial role and extremely heartening that we will still have Mr Loring, who has made a massive contribution to the professionalisation of the club, involved in a major way.
Simon Storey will doubtless prove a worthy successor, but he has a hard act to follow. Under Keith, Derbyshire as a club has made massive strides commercially and the positive financial returns over most of recent seasons are evidence of his business acumen. "Little Derbyshire" has become a club with a sound business model, quite possibly the envy of many counterparts elsewhere in the game, one run within budget and yet still able to move forward.
As Chris Grant points out elsewhere, Keith Loring's legacy is the dramatic transformation in the look of the County Ground. The new stand affords an excellent view of the action, while the marquee has opened up revenue streams and a wider audience for the club that might otherwise never have happened. While the ground has improved immeasurably in the forty years plus that I have been attending, the major changes have occurred during the tenure of Mr Loring, something for which all fans should be grateful and he can be rightly proud.
On behalf of Derbyshire fans I would like to offer a warm welcome to Simon Storey, who will undoubtedly do a fine job for us. At the same time, I would like to thank Keith Loring for a job well done. It is reassuring that a man of his qualities will continue to have a major role to play, one that I hope he feels able to do for some time to come.