DURHAM have reshuffled their management team to keep David Harker at the club.
Last month it was announced Harker would be leaving the club, which he had served since 1991 as financial controller and chief executive, in May.
But the Riversiders have persuaded him to stay on in a less hands-on role.
After eight years as operations director, Richard Dowson will take over many of Harker’s day-to-day jobs as chief operating officer.
Harker becomes group chief executive, where his main focus will be developing the club’s Chester-le-Street ground, hopefully in time for this summer’s Ashes.
On August 9 the ground host its first England v Australia Test match.
The long-term plan was for a new permanent stand and hotel to be erected by then. Some preparatory work took place last summer, but no further progress can been made until extra funding is found.
“That remains a challenge I’ve been working on for a long time,” said Dowson. “We would still be keen to develop that in time for the Ashes Test on August 9 if we can.
“I’m sure there’s a final deadline date (for work to start), but quite when that is I’m not sure at the moment.
“It’s just a case of trying everything we can.
“For the long-term future of the business the new stand and the hotel are both important
“But you can overplay the significance of having the stand in place for the Ashes.
“The quality of the event experience will be far more important.
“Other preparations for the Ashes are going extremely well. We’re drawing on the experience of other clubs who have hosted England v Australia Tests.
“It can’t come around quickly enough. We hope it’s a successful culmination of everything the club’s worked towards for more than 21 years.”
On Harker, he added: “It’s great for us in terms of keeping his experience and the guidance he can give us. He will have overall responsibility for the club and it’s great from me to pick up the day-to-day running of it in the year we celebrate our 21st birthday (as a First-Class county) and host our first Ashes Test match.
“I have a great working relationship with David and it’s a great chance for me to put my mark on things having seen what’s happened over the last eight years.”
Rebecca Graham has been promoted to finance director, long-term advisor Scott Sherrard becomes commercial director and Rachel Harwood is the new operations and events director.
Harwood recently managed the Kassam complex in Oxford.