Somerset has announced Guy Lavender’s replacement as the next Chief Executive of the club to be Lee Cooper, who is 37 years old and the founder of Cooper Associates, a local and highly successful business that has close links to the club as name sponsors of the County Ground.
Mr Cooper has a keen interest in professional and recreational cricket and was a player that represented Somerset through all the age group sides. His company can boast several former Somerset players in their ranks, including James Regan and Carl Gazzard with Kevin Parsons the Managing Director.
This is a clever move by Somerset who needed to make the right appointment after the news that Mr Lavender would be leaving at the end of this current season to effectively manage the MCC. Mr Cooper has all the right credentials and has strong financial management skills which is key to ensuring that the club continues the excellent work of the past few seasons off the field.
By also having established close links he will already understand the club, the area and what it is to be Somerset. This will offer an amount of stability and consistency. We all witnessed first-hand a few seasons back what can happen when a key appointment is made and that person doesn’t understand the club, with the words “Dave” and “Nosworthy” springing to mind. The last thing Somerset needs is someone coming in and ripping everything up and starting afresh for the sake of it as that is not needed.
By making this announcement now Cooper will have a lengthy handover period to feel his way into the new role. He is young and can build foundations for years to come offering further stability.
Chairman Andy Nash, speaking after the appointment, said that there would be ‘no conflict of interests’ considering the existing relationship between club and company, saying: “He (Lee Cooper) will be stepping down formally from all executive functions at Cooper Associates to take up this appointment and we will elect a member of the General Committee to manage the commercial relationship with Cooper Associates to ensure there is no conflict of interests”.
Lee Cooper said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as Somerset’s next CEO. My association with the Club has extended for many years and this is a role that I am extremely passionate about and one that I am very excited to be undertaking. The management team at Cooper Associates are very supportive of this move, and they’re well placed to assume my executive responsibilities which allows me to focus fully on taking Somerset forward into the future. I very much look forward to meeting all the staff and Members during my handover period”.
We all wish Lee Cooper the very best and welcome him to his new role at the end of this season. And I hope he forgives me for the headline as I couldn’t resist it!