Former ECB Chairman, Colin Graves CBE, joins Oakwell Sports Advisory

Oakwell Sports Advisory (“Oakwell“), a specialist corporate finance advisory service solving commercial challenges in sport, announces Colin Graves, CBE, has joined its Advisory Board with immediate effect.

The appointment reflects Oakwell’s sustained growth in 2020, its continued recruitment across the business – including Andrew Croker as Advisory Board Chairman in July 2020 – and its global ambitions.

Colin is one of UK sport’s most recognisable and respected administrators and in August 2020 completed a five-year tenure as Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, which was preceded by a two-year period (2013-2015) as Deputy Chairman. Colin’s achievements as Chairman were significant including significant governance reforms and paving the way for The Hundred. Colin was also a Board Director of the International Cricket Council from 2015-2020.

Colin has a stunning legacy at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, including transforming Headingley into a world-class cricket venue. In 2020, Colin was awarded a CBE for services to cricket.

Colin is also a renowned businessman and entrepreneur. He founded the York-based convenience retail group, Costcutter, overseeing its growth into an international household name, and sale to Bibby Line Group.

 Colin will be actively involved in Oakwell's commercial activities, bringing his decades of experience in sport and business to Oakwell's clients - as sports and rights holders continue to revamp traditional financing methods and shareholder structures, to cope with economic challenges.


Colin will be actively involved in Oakwell’s commercial activities, bringing his decades of experience in sport and business to Oakwell’s clients – as sports and rights holders continue to revamp traditional financing methods and shareholder structures, to cope with economic challenges.

Colin Graves, CBE, commented: “I am delighted to join Oakwell at a critical time for the business of international sport. Sport, globally, will require much assistance – both structural and financial – in the next two to three years, and Oakwell’s skill set and global outlook is ideally positioned to add significant value.

Globally, the relationship between sport and private capital needs nurturing and optimising. Better commercial business models are required, as is more responsive governance. Whilst cricket has always been my passion, I look forward to sharing my sports and business experience for the benefit of Oakwell, and the wider ecosystem of leagues, investors, clubs, rights holders, and companies in all sports, globally.”

Andrew Croker, Chairman of the Advisory Board at Oakwell Sports Advisory, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Colin to Oakwell. His experience in sport and business needs little introduction and he is an outstanding addition to the team. His appointment reflects our global growth ambitions and our goal to be the go-to advisor in solving sport’s commercial challenges.”

Andrew Umbers, co-Founder and Partner of Oakwell Sports Advisory, said: “2020 was a very challenging year for sports and serious economic headwinds still remain. With the support of our outstanding new appointment Colin Graves, our core executive team, and our talented advisory board, we are ideally placed to advise third party capital, sports bodies, corporates and franchise owners and their global ecosystems on overcoming the challenges ahead.”

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