Jim Cumbes has delayed his retirement as Lancashire’s chief executive yet again to avoid unnecessary upheaval at the club as the redevelopment of Old Trafford reaches the crucial final stages.
Cumbes, the former county seamer and Football League goalkeeper, has been the public face of Lancashire’s rollercoaster ride during the last decade, initially floating the possibilities of moves to Wigan, or across Manchester to Eastlands, before the lengthy legal battle for a Tesco-funded transformation of Old Trafford in which victory was finally secured last July.
He first agreed to defer his retirement, which would have been due in May 2009 when he turned 65, way back in December 2008.
So much water has passed under the bridge since then, and Cumbes will now work beyond his 68th birthday this year as first-class cricket returns to the ground for the first time since 2010, on a reorientated square and with major construction work ongoing on the pavilion and a new cricket and media building that has replaced the old Washbrook-Statham Stand.
The club have yet to set a date on his departure, or to comment publically on whether they will look externally for a successor, or to promote from within.
Cumbes succeeded John Bower as Lancashire’s chief executive in 1998, having previously worked in the club’s marketing department. Since that decision to stay on in December 2008, he has headed up a four-man management team of commercial director Geoff Durbin, finance and operations director Lee Morgan, and director of cricket Mike Watkinson.