Chris Grant has been named as the man to bring the factions on the Derbyshire committee back together.
At the end of an extraordinary 10 days in the wake of the shock resignation of Don Amott, Grant was elected unopposed to take over as chairman following the club’s annual general meeting.
The 42-year-old is Derby born and was able to retire at the age of 38 after making his fortune as a financial expert in the City of London. He was co-opted on to the Derbyshire committee for the first time last summer and became an elected committee member at this AGM but his business pedigree, drive and lack of baggage made him the ideal candidate to reunite the club’s leadership.
“To be elected unopposed after the turmoil of the last 10 days, I think, demonstrates some willingness on the part of the committee to put the troubles of the last 10 days behind us and go forward in unity,” said Grant.
“I inherit a club in a good position, in terms of stability with its finances with the bank, and we have a good ground now. Clearly, I also inherit a committee room that’s been divided for the last two weeks.
“There have been underlying tensions for longer than that and last Monday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I have got a challenge on that side but, hopefully, I’m the face of unity and can draw the warring factions back together to work on all the things we’ve got to do for the good of Derbyshire.
“Hopefully now we can generate some stability off the field to allow the focus to move back to what happens at Bristol next Friday.”
It has been a whirlwind few days for Grant but he says the top of his priority list will be to secure the futures of head of cricket John Morris and chief executive Keith Loring. Morris is in the last year of his contract and Loring has no contract at all.
“It’s been a traumatic time for both Keith and John, so my first priority is to sit down with them and offer them some assurance,” added Grant.
“I think it’s important, as the new chairman, to hear at first hand the views of the head of cricket and the chief executive. They are the life blood of the club – the club wouldn’t operate without them.”
After that, Grant is facing tough decisions over future financial strategy as Derbyshire look to recover from last year’s £187,000 loss, but says he is looking forward to the challenge, even though it has come earlier than expected.
“In my career, I’ve often found that opportunities don’t necessarily present themselves at the ideal time,” he said. “First of all, I’m delighted to have been elected on to the general committee with such strong support from the membership and I’m honoured to have been elected to the position of chairman.
“It’s a dream for me as a life-long fan of Derbyshire cricket and I’ve got absolutely the best interests of this club at heart.”
The AGM itself passed in a mood of relative calm, with members pressing for more detail about the finances and the circumstances of Amott’s resignation.
But tempers never threatened to boil over and the one call for resignations was shouted down by other members, allowing the committee to choose their new chairman free from the pressure for recriminations from the membership.