History in the makingPeter Blackburn |
It’s been a long time coming.
The England Women’s cricket team has been among those at the top of the world for some time, providing entertaining Ashes victories and gathering plaudits from all corners of the cricketing world.
Yet, as in so many areas of business, women are still woefully under-represented at the boardroom levels of county and international cricket.
That Lisa Pursehouse is the first female chief executive of a county cricket club is of little surprise but her appointment certainly provides hope that a sport often considered to be sitting firmly in the past is becoming something less of a dinosaur.
There is no doubt that the position of Chief Executive at Nottinghamshire is one of the biggest in cricket, particularly in the light of a victorious pursuit to re-gain live Ashes Test cricket at Trent Bridge.
The responsibility of leading a club that has won two of the last six County Championship titles is a major one, but Lisa is clearly delighted that she has been given the chance to take on the reigns at such a massive club. ‘This role is the greatest honour and the biggest challenge that I have ever faced, but I have a clear vision and I am relishing the road ahead.’
Having previously worked for Yorkshire Country Cricket, Ms Pursehouse has been at Trent Bridge for nearly twelve years and will take over the role at the end of April.
The newly appointed Chief Executive will return from an overseas holiday in two weeks time before hosting a media session ahead of the start of the domestic season.
The Nottinghamshire chairman Steve Wrights highlighted that the selection process for the role had been a rigorous one but that Ms Pursehouse had shone out above all other candidates. ‘Lisa has been a driving force since her arrival at Trent Bridge and played a major part in securing Ashes Tests here in 2013 and 2015 and an India Test in 2014.’
Mr Wrights makes no effort to dampen his praise of Notts’ new Chief Executive: ‘Her knowledge of the commercial needs and operational demands of our business is exceptional and she will now have the opportunity to stamp her mark on this great club. I am delighted that she has accepted this opportunity and the challenges that it will involve.’
The Multi-media editor of Spin Cricket Magazine, Lizzy Ammon, welcomed the appointment of Ms Pursehouse and suggested that the gender balance is beginning to change for the better in the cricket world, albeit slowly. ‘There are plenty of women playing cricket, working with school and young people’s coaching programmes and we are seeing an increasing number of female faces taking on various roles across cricket administration. There are still very few in the media but that will change over time too.’
Lizzy also offers a realistic view of the situation though, ‘It’s still and may always be a predominantly male sport so it’s unsurprising that the chief execs, chairmen, committees and executive staff are men. A lot of them are former players and the experience in they have had in the game counts for a lot in cricket administration terms.’
It should be noted that Ms Pursehouse is not the only woman to have held a major cricketing administrative position – Sophie Walker has previously held the position of General Manager at Leicesteshire. Regardless, cricket has made a step in the right direction.
There can be no claim that Ms Pursehouse’s appointment is anything to do with gender either, as the outgoing chief executive, Derek Brewer confirms. ‘Lisa’s knowledge base is an incredible asset to the Club.’
Brewer is keen to note that the continuity brought by this appointment will be vital. Nottinghamshire has been running smoothly for some time, and Ms Pursehouse has been a fundamental part of that. ‘Lisa was my greatest ally during my tenure and I am delighted that the Committee has seen fit to install her as my successor. I wish her every success.’
In an era of debt-ridden sporting organisations struggling, and in some cases failing, to stay afloat, Nottinghamshire has been a model of genuine success and Ms Pursehouse is clearly proud to be continuing the strong tradition shaped by her predecessors. ‘Working alongside David Collier and Derek Brewer, coupled with my own experience in cricket, has equipped me with invaluable insight.’
Few will worry for the future at Nottinghamshire and certainly Ms Pursehouse is confident of continuing the county’s recent successes. ‘I look forward to leading the next chapter at Trent Bridge.’