Matthew Wheeler is to take on “many of the roles and responsibilities” of PCA chief executive in the continued absence of David Leatherdale.
It was announced a few weeks ago that Leatherdale, the official chief executive of the PCA, would be taking a break from work to deal with what the organisation have now termed “an acute stress reaction” to a demanding workload and family health issues. News that Wheeler is “to take on more PCA business” suggests Leatherdale’s return to work is not imminent.
“Following professional advice, Leatherdale is taking a break from his role as Chief Executive,” a PCA statement said.
“Leatherdale recently developed an acute stress reaction as a result of a number of personal life events coinciding with a period of intense work commitments.
“This will enable him to rest, focus on supporting his family and allow a smooth and robust return to his full duties at the appropriate time.”
Wheeler, who played a couple of first-class games for Northants in 1985, has been on the PCA board as a non-executive director since 2009 and was appointed non-executive chairman in 2014. He has enjoyed a successful business career in the sports, entertainment and leisure sectors. He is a managing partner in Sports Investment Partners – who describe themselves as “a bridge between the worlds of commercial sport and financial investment” – and says he will be at the PCA’s officers at The Oval “on a regular basis over the coming weeks”.
Daryl Mitchell, the Worcestershire batsman, will continue in his role as PCA chairman and as the players’ representative on the ECB cricket committee.
“In David’s absence I will be spending more time on PCA matters,” Wheeler said. “We all wish him a speedy return to full health and we ask for you to respect his privacy at this time.
“The PCA is extremely fortunate to have an excellent group of staff who will continue to deliver services to members with the association operating as usual.”
It is a busy time for the PCA. With a former ECB board member, Andy Nash, warning that the domestic game in England and Wales is moving towards a future involving as few as eight full-time, professional teams, the PCA would be expected to take a leading role in the fight to preserve their members’ jobs. They are also involved with negotiating the next Team England deal – negotiations in which former CEO Richard Bevan, currently CEO of the League Managers’ Association, is expected to take a leading role – and ensuring players benefit from the new broadcast deal which brought unprecedented wealth to the game.