Stuart Cain is set to be named as Warwickshire’s new chief executive.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Cain will be appointed later this week with a remit to further diversify the business of the club. He is currently chief executive at Wasps Holdings, which includes management of the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, and is believed to have prevailed from a shortlist that also included Paul Faulkner, the former Aston Villa chief executive, and Craig Flindall, Warwickshire’s current commercial director.
Steve Elworthy, who is currently spearheading the ECB’s plans to play cricket behind closed doors this summer and was previously tournament director of the 2019 World Cup, is also understood to have held preliminary discussions with the club before deciding the role was not the right fit for him at this stage.
Cain’s to-do list is likely to include the acquisition of a naming-rights partner for Edgbaston and a move towards becoming a venue for concerts and other large events. He will also be charged with overseeing the next phase of the ground’s redevelopment which is currently scheduled to include a hotel where the Priory and Raglan stands are currently situated.
It may be relevant that Cain has an established relationship with local government agencies having spent seven years as managing director of the NEC Group. In that time, he built The Ticket Factory into one of the UK’s leading entertainment ticketing agents. Birmingham City Council remains Warwickshire’s lending partner.
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Warwickshire’s current chief executive, Neil Snowball, is scheduled to leave the club at the end of June having been appointed as the ECB’s managing director of county cricket. Snowball joined Warwickshire in late 2015 and is widely credited with improving the club’s relationship with the ECB culminating in an excellent allocation of major matches. He leaves the club in fine fettle, despite the long-term debt issues, having also presided over strong ticket sales in international cricket, an increase in the non-cricket business – notably weddings and conferences – and stronger links with the club’s history and former players.
Cain has strong links to the area. He attended Wolverhampton Grammar School before going on to study at Birmingham City University and then gaining an MBA from Lancaster University. He has also completed executive education at Harvard Business School. He is currently unclear whether he will continue as a senior independent director for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Staffordshire.