The Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has dismissed Manu Sawhney as the CEO with immediate effect, ending a long-running saga at the very top of the organisation’s management.
The decision was taken on Thursday by the ICC Board at an emergency meeting chaired by ICC Chairman, Greg Barclay
In a media release, the ICC said that Sawhney will leave the organisation with immediate effect. Geoff Allardice will continue as Acting CEO supported by the Leadership Team working closely with the ICC Board.
The decision was not put up for a formal vote but it is believed no objections were raised by any of the directors on the board.
Sawhney had effectively been out of office since March this year, when he was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. That move was recommended to Barclay by the ICC’s Human Resources committee, headed by ECB chairman, Ian Watmore. It was based on the findings of a cultural review carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) at the start of the year, one which made a number of allegations against Sawhney’s management style.
They included charges of bullying certain staff members, as well as exhibiting acts of “physical aggression, such as fist banging”. Sawhney’s behaviour reportedly impacted the health and wellbeing of staff. One charge was that he had taken and implemented decisions without properly consulting the board.
The allegations were outlined to Sawhney at a virtual disciplinary hearing with Barclay on 17th June, the only one Sawhney faced after his suspension. The ICC ethics officer Peter Nicholson was also present.
At the hearing, reading from a prepared statement, Sawhney said that he was the victim of a “premeditated witch hunt“. He criticised the “four bullet points” of allegations as insubstantial and said they had the potential to rob him of his “livelihood” and hurt his “reputation”. He also sent his statement to all the ICC directors, stating that he would contest any guilty verdict and “resist this blatant attempt to force me from office”, which would set, he said, “an extremely dangerous precedent”.
According to the ICC’s constitution, Sawhney has five days to lodge an appeal with the board. Sawhney took over from Dave Richardson as CEO in April 2019.