Former ECB boss Tom Harrison given top Six Nations position
Tom Harrison, the former England and Wales Cricket Board chief who oversaw the introduction of The Hundred competition, has been appointed the new chief executive of the Six Nations Championship.
Harrison’s appointment will be confirmed today having been rubber-stamped at a Six Nations board and council meeting on Thursday.
The 51 year-old, who played cricket with Northamptonshire and Derbyshire, succeeds Ben Morel, who is due to leave the Six Nations after five years in April to join a new French football commercial body overseeing Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 and backed by the private equity company CVC Capital Partners.
Harrison was renowned for his skills at securing significant uplift in broadcasting revenues at the ECB, helping to deliver a broadcast deal worth more than £1 billion in 2017 and trebling the organisation’s revenues during his seven-year tenure.
However, it was his decision to drive through the introduction of The Hundred, the limited-overs competition that was played for the first time in 2021 despite opposition from many quarters of the game, that defined his tenure.
That was not the only controversy during his reign. He and a group of senior managers drew criticism when they shared a pot worth around £2.1million based on a long-term incentive plan at the same time as announcing 62 redundancies at the governing body as a result of Covid-19, despite the staff having already taken a voluntary pay cut.
It is understood that his experience in broadcasting deals was one of the key factors in his appointment to succeed Morel and it will be intriguing to see if he considers the introduction of pay-TV to the championship, which has enjoyed long-standing deals with terrestrial broadcasters.
Since joining in 2018, Morel has overseen a number of key developments to the organisation, including the investment deal with CVC and was the architect of a stand-alone window in the international rugby calendar for the women’s game as well as securing TikTok title sponsorship for the Women’s Six Nations, and the Amazon Prime Video broadcast rights partnership for the revamped Autumn Nations in the UK and Ireland.