The Structure and Governance of MCC
The previous Secretary MCC, Derek Brewer, submitted a Paper to the ISWP and the MCC Committee in February 2014 stating very clearly “it is difficult to run the MCC on a day to day basis. We have been in a state of ongoing crisis and an unsustainable working environment for the past few years. Whilst we can probably muddle on regardless, we do in my view need to take the enhancement of governance very seriously. The current structure is cumbersome and expensive to run”. His conclusion “It is tempting to carry out root and branch reform” has yet to be implemented as the Club continues to “muddle on” into 2020. Derek was in no doubt that an absence of good governance demanded a restructuring of the MCC through ISWP recommendations.
Financial Reporting Council (FRC) Guidelines on UK Corporate Governance
The purpose of Corporate Governance is to facilitate effective entrepreneurial, prudent management that can deliver the long-term success of the Company (MCC).
“Corporate governance is the structure by which Companies are directed and controlled by Boards of Directors (MCC Committee) are responsible for the governance of their Companies (the MCC). The Shareholders (MCC Members) role in governance is to appoint the Directors and the Auditors and to satisfy themselves that an appropriate governance structure is in place. The responsibilities of the Board (MCC Committee) include setting the Company’s (the Club) strategic aims providing the leadership to put them into effect, superimposing the management of the business and reporting to Shareholders (MCC Members) on their stewardship. The Board (MCC Committee) is subject to laws regulations and shareholders (MCC Members) in General Meeting”.
Corporate governance is therefore about what the Board of a Company does (MCC Committee) and how it sets the values of the Company (MCC).
It is to be distinguished from the day-to-day operational management of the Company by full time executives (presently the MCC Secretariat).
Structure and Governance of MCC
It is time for the MCC to introduce new Rules and Regulations at Lord’s that reflect the best interests and sovereignty of the Royal Charter Company Shareholders – the MCC Members themselves. A universally recognized code of practice (The Members Charter) designed to deliver peerless good corporate governance is long overdue.
The powers of the MCC Committee (Government) of the Club must be separated from those of the Executive and MCC Rule 13.1 has to be made redundant.
If the new MCC structure is right and a top class professional team of executives is in place the delivery of good governance will be a given.
i) Restructuring of the MCC Committee (Board of Directors) as per ISWP Recommendations needs to take place without delay.
ii) Creating a Nomination Committee (NomCo) to appoint a new MCC Executive.
The MCC Committee approved a reduction in number of members in October 2014. The necessary delegation of powers to an Executive team of well qualified and experienced full time staff including Chairman MCC Committee (P/T non- executive), CEO, Financial Director (Registered ICAEW), Company Secretary (Solicitor), Chief Operating Officer, Membership Secretary and Curator (Museum and Heritage) remains to be executed.
A new MCC Executive will evolve from the existing Secretariat with the necessary experience and skills to replace the army of unelected quasi-executive amateur Members serving on 11 sub-committees (+140 Members in number).
The benefit of the vast amount of time and money spent on the contents of the ISWP Report should be exploited and the mess of pottage cooked up by unwelcome meddlers in Club affairs, must be placed in the trash-can. The ownership of MCC must be returned to the Shareholders – the MCC Members.
An elected Members’ Committee (ISWP and Scott Baker WP) should be responsible for introducing a Members Charter and look after the Membership best interests together with those of the recreational amateur game played by Clubs and Schools.
Royal Charter Article 14 and Club Rule 26 require determination to define what constitutes the “Proprietary rights” of the MCC Members.
Nigel J Knott (Dr.)
Elected Playing Members 1966
Appointed by MCC Committee to 6 WP’s
1) Lord Griffiths. Administration of English Cricket
2) Staging Agreement (Lord’s Cricket Ground)
4) Broadcasting and TV rights at Lord’s
5) CEO Member Liability
MCC Match Manager
Retired private dental practice and laboratory owner
Advisor to Secretary of State for NHS and Social Services Patrick Jenkin 1980/81
Consultant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Renishaw Plc. and Western Provident Association (WPA), Trustee WPA.
4 July 2020
The MCC is a private Members Cricket Club Incorporated by Royal Charter on 1 July 2013.It is of course very different from any other Cricket Club as Members benefit from the Lord’s Trust that owns and maintain the most prestigious Cricket ground in the world – Lord’s. Lord’s should be a flourishing business generating very large sums of money for the benefit of its Members and our national Sport. To an extent it does just that and every year MCC Members contribute significantly not only to the ECB and grass roots Cricket in this Country but also Cricket throughout the World. The MCC remains the greatest single benefactor of Cricket.
The arcane management structure of MCC has remained largely unchanged since 1866. The Committee assumes the entire responsibility and control of everything that happens at Lord’s. Is this rather ancient management structure fit for purpose in 2020 and beyond? NO IT IS NOT! What is the solution therefore?
The solution is relatively simple and not a case of reinventing the wheel when all around us UK businesses flourish with successful management structures in place, supported by well known models of Corporate Governance accompanied by transparency and accountability. Great companies are run by great people.
The MCC Rules state the Committee “shall be responsible for the entire management of the property, funds and affairs of the Club, including the appointment, terms and conditions of employment (including salary) and dismissal of the Secretary & Chief Executive, and approval of the appointment salary and dismissal of members of the Secretariat”. There is a complete absence of transparency, good governance and accountability.
In today’s competitive business world a prestigious Club such as the MCC with an important business to administer (£59 million turnover in 2019) should demonstrate a separation of powers between the Committee (Governemnt) and the Secrerariat (Executive). Commercial affairs (the Ground) should be administred by a team of properly qualified professional staff, perhaps by “Lord’s Management Services Ltd. (LMS)”? The Club Membership should be the resonsibility of administrative staff funded by Club Subscriptions. LMS would be expected to provide profits for the Club to ensure Member subscription income was kept to a minimum. This essential reform to the management structure at Lord’s would need to be accompanied by the appointment of an MCC Executive Chairman who would in fact exercise ultimate control on behalf of the MCC Board of Directors (Committee) to ensure the commercial side of the Club affairs (Lord’s) was functioning efficiently and effectively, whilst at the same time respecting Membership rights and privileges enshrined within a Members’ Charter.
The benefits of this fundamental restructuring would become apparent in a very short space of time.
Dr Nigel Knott
28 June 2019
Elected Playing Member MCC 1966
Representative Member appointed to 6 Working Parties