WORCESTERSHIRE will be looking for their third chief executive in just over three years after the sudden departure of Matt Rawnsley.
Cricket chiefs at New Road revealed Rawnsley had stepped down in a terse statement on Friday after just 20 months at the helm.
The 43-year-old has left the club with immediate effect with Pears chairman Fanos Hira taking on much of Rawnsley’s duties alongside members of the club’s board.
All cricket matters will continue to be handled by the club’s Cricket Steering Group which is chaired by WCCC vice-chairman Paul Pridgeon.
Club officials refused to elaborate further on Rawnsley’s departure but said further comments would be made ‘in due course’.
“The board would like to thank Matt for all his hard work at WCCC in the last 20 months and wish him every success in the future,” a statement read.
Rawnsley returned to New Road last March and during his tenure as chief executive Worcestershire won their maiden Vitality Blast title and came within a ball of defending their crown last month.
But, despite success in the short form of the game, the Pears endured two disappointing Championship campaigns with relegation from Division One followed by ninth place in Division Two this summer.
The New Road side were among the favourites to seal one of three promotion spots back to English cricket’s top flight this summer but won just three of their 14 games to finish almost 60 points off third-placed Gloucestershire.
Off the field, Rawnsley was instrumental in attracting the likes of big-hitting Kiwi Martin Guptill to New Road.
The former New Road chief also oversaw the coaching restructure last winter which saw head coach Alex Gidman elevated to the role and held members forums each summer in the Graeme Hick Pavilion.
Rawnsley took over from former chief Tom Scott who left at the end of 2017 following a 17-month spell in the role in addition to six months as interim chief executive.
The current upheaval is in stark contrast to the tenure of former Pears chief David Leatherdale who served the club as chief executive for six years.
After sterling efforts on the field for the county, Leatherdale took the top job in March 2010 and departed for a similar role with the Professional Cricketers Association in March 2016.