The ICC board on Thursday evening released a statement that said that their Chief Executive Manu Sawhney would be leaving the organization with immediate effect. The decision to remove Sawhney at a board meeting was unanimous, with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly present at the meeting too.
Sawhney, who became ICC’s fifth Chief Executive in 2019, replacing David Richardson, had been suspended in March 2021, pending a disciplinary hearing. He was elected during former chairman Shashank Manohar’s tenure. He had backed for interim chairman Imran Khawaja last year until Greg Barclay took over as chairman, post the elections in November. The differences between Sawhney and Barclay were out in the open.
An internal review held at the start of the year by Pricewaterhouse Coopers stated several allegations against Sawhney’s managerial style and abrasive behavior. From acts of physical aggression like fist banging to impacting the health and wellbeing of his staff through his conduct and failing to report to the board, and implementing decisions without proper consultation with the board, the numerous charges against him propelling the board to send him on leave earlier this year in March. A disciplinary hearing was held on June 17 to assess the allegations against Sawhney. The decision was taken on July 8. It was also reported that many of the bigger cricket boards, including the BCCI, English, and Wales Cricket Board, and Cricket Australia, were unhappy with Sawhney’s decision of wanting to ask boards to bid and pay fees for hosting events during the next cricket cycle.
Sawhney, a former CEO of the Singapore Sports Hub, has previously served as the Managing Director of ESPN Star Sports and is a non-executive director and member of the Audit Committee of Manchester United Ltd. Geoff Allardice will replace him. Geoff will continue as Acting CEO along with support from the Leadership Team until the ICC announces Sawhney’s successor.