Paul Russell, who was responsible for bringing Test cricket to Wales, has resigned as Glamorgan chairman through ill health.
Following a four-hour special committee meeting today (July 31) it was decided to replace Russell with Barry O’Brien, a partner in a London law firm, as caretaker chairman. Nigel Roberts, who had been chairman-elect since March, will continue as deputy chairman.
“I have made this decision because I believe it to be in the best interests of Glamorgan Cricket,” said Russell in a statement from the county. “My choosing to depart earlier than planned facilitates the club addressing and securing its long term future”.
County chief executive Alan Hamer said: “Paul Russell’s contribution to Glamorgan Cricket has been immense. On behalf of the club, I would like to thank him for his vision, determination and continued commitment.
“I wish Paul well in his retirement and, as a passionate Glamorgan supporter, I’m sure he’ll be a regular visitor to the stadium.
“In the meantime, the club’s committee and executive management team look forward to working closely with Barry O’Brien to ensure that there is a smooth transition period, until such time as we announce a successor to Paul.
“Barry is one of the UK’s leading lawyers, has been on the club’s committee for the past three years and has been a lifelong Glamorgan supporter.”
Russell, who has been chairman since 2003, was responsible for turning Sophia Gardens into the 16,000-capacity Swalec Stadium and bringing Ashes Test cricket to Cardiff.
But despite the success of the England-Australia Test in 2009, Glamorgan were then stripped of the right to host England’s 2012 Test with the West Indies.
And, during a turbulent winter, last year saw the resignation of director of cricket Matthew Maynard and former captain Jamie Dalrymple following the appointment of Alviro Petersen as captain and Colin Metson as managing director of cricket. President Peter Walker also quit and batsman Tom Maynard left for Surrey.
Added to that, at March’s AGM three of the four committee members standing for re-election lost their seats.
The timing of Russell’s departure seems strange, however, considering Glamorgan are sending a delegation to Lord’s on Tuesday August 2 to bid for another Ashes match in 2013 or 2015.