Managing partner becomes chairman of Yorkshire Cricket

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club has announced that Roger Hutton has been appointed as its new chairman, with former all-rounder and vice-captain Neil Hartley becoming the Club’s new vice-chairman.

Hutton, a joint managing partner at Leeds-based law firm Clarion Solicitors, succeeds Robin Smith who stepped down at the Club’s annual general meeting (AGM). Yorkshire’s new chairman was overwhelmingly voted onto the board at the same meeting, having been a valuable supporter of Yorkshire cricket over the years, with Clarion Solicitors becoming the Yorkshire Diamonds’ team principal sponsor in 2016.

Speaking about his appointment as chairman, Hutton said: “My dad spent my childhood regaling me with stories of Len Hutton and Yorkshire County Cricket Club. I have been steeped in the blub and its history, so I could not be prouder than to be appointed chairman.

“Yorkshire has one of the strongest and most knowledgeable memberships in the country and I am anxious that their views are heard at a national level.

“It has a world-class facility in Emerald Headingley and a superb bunch of players. It has the greatest heritage of any cricket club in the world.

“Over the last few years, the Club, under the guidance of Robin Smith, has assembled an incredibly talented group of people who work in it, not least Mark Arthur. I’d like to recognise Robin’s significant contribution to Yorkshire, fulfilling such roles as chairman, president and board member over a 20-year period.

“I feel incredibly privileged to be appointed chairman in these circumstances. Whilst there are clearly some immediate challenges for cricket as a whole, I am most looking forward to working with all the talented and ambitious people to build on what has been achieved so far.”

Hutton was educated at Exeter University and Leeds Metropolitan University Law School, taking the role of article clerk at Squire Patton Boggs before joining Clarion as an assistant solicitor in 1996. Three years later, Hutton became a partner at the law firm and has since worked with many high-profile clients.

Yorkshire’s new chairman believes that ensuring the right team culture is adopted is a key trait for any progressive business.

Hutton said: “I have been lucky to be part of a management team at Clarion to start and grow from scratch one of the most successful law firms outside London.

“I have learned that success is delivered by creating the right team culture and allowing people to do what they are best at. I also have learned success involves being able to make hard decisions when you need to. I believe that these lessons will help me fulfil my role in the club.

“However right now, I am looking forward more than anything else to hearing the beautiful sound of bat hitting ball at Emerald Headingley.”

Hartley, who was elected to the board at last year’s AGM, played for the White Rose between 1977 and 1991, making 142 First Class and 173 List A appearances. Following a distinguished playing career, Hartley continued to have a positive influence on the game of cricket and has served as the chairman of the Yorkshire Players’ Association for the past eight years.

The former right-handed batsman and right arm medium pace bowler has also played an active role at Bradford and Bingley Cricket Club, taking on various roles from playing, coaching, director of ground, committee member and assisting the ground staff.

On his new role as vice chairman Hartley said: “I am really pleased to have been asked to take on the role and I am looking forward to making a contribution to what in my opinion is already a very well-structured board.

“I am looking forward to working with Roger who is absolutely the right choice for the chairman’s role. His legal background and experience will be essential for the Club in an environment where we require strong governance.

Following a successful playing career, Hartley moved into insurance broking and risk management, a profession that he has worked in for around 30 years. Hartley hopes that this experience will prove beneficial to the Board and complement the new chairman’s expertise.

“I was in my late thirties when I finished playing with Yorkshire; 1991 was my last season,” Hartley said.

“I already had a background in insurance and when released by Yorkshire had the good fortune to move immediately into an insurance broking role which has continued for more than 25 years.

“I hope that experience in terms of considering the risk management aspects of running a business will add value, in addition to contributing towards our vitally important on-field performance.

“I’ve known Roger for some time now and feel we get on well both socially and professionally. We are nicely aligned in terms of our views on how the Board should continue to operate. I think there is real potential for a good, solid partnership.”