John Claughton has resigned from Warwickshire CCC's committee, consequently relinquishing his position as the club's chairman of cricket.
Claughton, a member of the Warwickshire side that won the 1980 John Player League, has cited the demands of his position as chief master of King Edward's School as a primary reason for his decision. A successor will be appointed following the club's annual meeting on February 27.
Claughton's resignation is not a surprise.
Stung by media criticism and shocked by calls to resign at a members' forum, 51-year-old Claughton had expressed concern that negative publicity could affect his professional reputation.
His insistence that the team was improving while all evidence screamed the opposite undermined his credibility, while his misplaced loyalty of Mark Greatbatch - Claughton was on the interviewing panel that appointed the New Zealander as director of cricket - raised question marks over his judgment. He often appeared surprised by the scrutiny his position earned and his petulant performance at an end-of-season forum did him few favours.
The role of chairman of cricket altered during Claughton's tenure. Appointed at the end of 2005, Claughton believed his brief was to provide counsel and advice to the club's executive officers.
In the past, however, the position had more specific parameters. The likes of Dennis Amiss, Andy Lloyd and Tim Munton were actively involved in recruitment, assessment and policy. Claughton's position could have been filled by a rubber stamp.
To be fair to him, the position is unpaid and voluntary. His good intentions are not disputed and if the club is serious about providing a thoroughly professional environment they should consider appointing a respected, well-connected individual to a paid position. Nick Knight would appear an ideal candidate.
Claughton is the second member of the committee to announce his resignation in recent months. David Whittingham had previously stepped down in order to pursue business opportunities in Yorkshire.
Therefore, Paul Warren, a member of the Section 19 supporters group, and Colin Short - the only candidates - will be elected to Warwickshire's general committee unopposed at the annual meeting. Jamie McDowall, a 60-year-old former wicketkeeper, is one obvious candidate to replace Claughton as chairman of cricket. He has taken the role previously as an interim measure.
Club chairman Neil Houghton paid tribute to Claughton. "John has always acted with great integrity and with the best interests of the club at heart," he said. "Since the end of last season he has seen us through another period of significant change and I thank him for all his efforts. I know he will continue to be a regular visitor to the county ground and he will be assured of a warm welcome."