Harrison, 51, will step down from his cricketing role in May 2022 after a controversial seven-year stint that was defined by his driving-through of The Hundred, the ECB’s new city-based white-ball competition that will for the first time feature special has proven to be divisive. two years of its existence.
As a former executive at IMG and ESPN-Star, Harrison’s most notable achievement was securing a lucrative £1.1 billion rights deal with Sky Sports and the BBC in 2017, a treble of the ECB’s previous broadcast arrangement. She was also at the helm during England’s victories in both the women’s and men’s 50-over World Cups in 2017 and 2019.
However, his time in this role ended amid controversy, when the ECB faced criticism for its response to the sport’s racism scandal following Azeem Rafiq’s testimony about his treatment at Yorkshire. He also attracted personal criticism for accepting his share of the £2.1 million bonus pot for senior ECB officials a year after overseeing 62 redundancies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harrison will take up his new role at the start of March – part way through this year’s Six Nations – with Ben Morell set to take up a new professional position in French football. He will face a game in flow conditions similar to English cricket, in which grassroots participation is an ongoing concern, especially in light of controversial new laws relating to height.
Harrison said, “The Six Nations rugby championship stands alongside the most celebrated and treasured competitions in the game.” “They are rich in history and have an enduring appeal with fans around the world. It is an enormous privilege to join the organization and play a part in the continued growth of this well-known brand and to serve rugby union more broadly.
“There is a real momentum within the organization, and I am really looking forward to working with the wider team, collaborating with each association and federation, and supporting an enviable roster of broadcast and commercial partners.”
Harrison’s brief will include managing the arrangement between Six Nations Rugby and CVC Capital Partners, the private investment company which paid £365 million for a 14.3% stake in the tournament in 2021. The issue of expanding the tournament is also on the agenda, amid reports of interest from South Africa and Georgia.
“Tom joins Six Nations rugby at a very exciting time for the organisation, the game and its fans,” said Ronan Dunn, chairman of Six Nations Rugby. “He brings with him a wealth of experience that is going to help deliver on the ambitions and goals of the business, and I look forward to working with him to achieve these.”