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George Kennedy confirms he is to step down as chairman of Kent County Cricket Club after 9 years in post

PUBLISHED: 09:18 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:34 02 March 2017

Kent County Cricket Club's out-going chairman George Kennedy. Pic: Ady Kerry

Kent County Cricket Club's out-going chairman George Kennedy. Pic: Ady Kerry

Ady Kerry / AK Pictures

Businessman has been chairman since 2008 and says he leaves the club in “much better health”

The chairman of Kent County Cricket Club, George Kennedy, has confirmed he is to step from the role.

He was president of the county club in 2007 and elected the following year as chairman.

Working with CEO Jamie Clifford since 2010, the club has recorded a £1million improvement in its finances through cost-cutting, increased sponsorship and ticket revenues allowing some investment.

However, like all county sides, the club has continued to struggle with it also announcing this week that its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation for the year was a loss of £65,835.

The sale of land, however, ensured an overall surplus of more than £1.8m. CEO Mr Clifford described 2016 as a “tough year”.

Since Mr Kennedy became chairman, the club has sold naming rights to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence to Shepherd Neame and invested in new club offices, café and convenience store as well as floodlights and refurbishment of the Chiesman Pavilion and Les Ames Stand.

Cricket has returned to a refurbished County Ground in Beckenham with a new 2,000-seater stand and modern indoor school to develop cricketers in metropolitan Kent.

Mr Kennedy said: “I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of helping the club navigate through some tricky times but I firmly believe Kent cricket is in much better health than it was in 2008.

“We had to get our house in order financially before making strategic investments to ensure stable year-round income for the club and back our homegrown talent to be the core of the Kent side going forward.

“As a life member, I understand supporters want success yesterday but we had to rebuild steady foundations to give the club the healthy future it deserves.

“Last season gave us a glimpse of what could be achieved and I know that the club is in good hands. I’d like to thank all the members and supporters for their loyalty, patience and understanding and look forward to seeing Kent thrive in all competitions under Matt Walker and Sam Northeast.

“Relations with the ECB have been difficult with the advent of T20 discussions and the battle over promotion and relegation along with various other issues, but I am happy to hand over to a new regime who will continue the work to return Kent to the top table.”

Mr Kennedy joined the club in the 1970s, when his business career was with Smiths Industries, a FTSE 100 company. He served as a main board director and chair of the company’s medical division, and during this time he also chaired various Government committees on overseas trade, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

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