Essex has appointed its first minority ethnic chair, 12 months after the former president was ousted amid a racism scandal.
Azim Akhtar, a former Active Essex boss who has also served as a board member at Sport England, was confirmed by the club on Thursday, one of eight candidates elected to the board at this year’s AGM. were He is currently Customer Chief Technology Officer at BT Global, while in 2016 he was named in the UK’s 100 Most Influential BAME Business Leaders.
In the wake of Azim Rafiq’s sensational testimony about his treatment at Yorkshire, Essex were also hit with separate allegations of racism, with former players Maurice Chambers, Zohaib Sharif and Jahid Ahmed saying he had been playing his game. He was abused during the days of
And while the findings of an independent report into the cases are yet to be released, Akhtar’s appointment is a big step for Essex, who said in a statement that his tenure “marks a new chapter for the club.” It will signal the beginning of the period.
“I am very proud to be elected Chair of Essex County Cricket Club,” said Akhtar. “As someone who was born and bred in Essex and has been a lifelong supporter of the club, I understand the importance of this great club to members, supporters, commercial partners and the wider community.
“I look forward to working with the newly formed board and taking positive steps towards the future of the club. Our ultimate aim is to make Essex the biggest red and white cricketing county in England. Thank you for our fantastic work in the community. Play through.”
Stephenson added: “There were outstanding candidates from a very strong field of potential candidates for the position of great chair.
“In addition to his strong all-round skill set, he has been a regular visitor to the Cloud County ground since childhood, a lifelong Essex fan. Along with him and the newly formed board.”