Former England fly-half Rob Andrew appointed chief executive at Sussex
Former England rugby union fly-half Rob Andrew is the surprise choice as Sussex's new chief executive.
Andrew, who won 71 caps for England from 1985 to 1997, will take up the role in January, working at all levels of cricket in the county.
In the summer the 53-year-old left his position as the Rugby Football Union's professional rugby director after 10 years with the governing body.
Andrew came in for criticism several times during his RFU tenure, in part due to his role in appointing and dismissing Brian Ashton as England coach.
Although Ashton's England side unexpectedly reached the 2007 World Cup final, his reign generally continued a period of underachievement following the 2003 World Cup triumph that continued until Eddie Jones' appointment a year ago.
Andrew is now tasked with overseeing Sussex as they seek to return to the County Championship's top flight and navigate a period of likely change for all first-class counties with moves towards the possible introduction of a city-based Twenty20 competition.
With the ECB's proposed T20 tournament set to be played at international cricket grounds, Sussex may struggle to keep drawing money-spinning large crowds to Hove even if the T20 Blast continues.
Andrew said: "I am thrilled and really excited to be joining Sussex. The structures that have been put in place under the Sussex Cricket Limited umbrella have laid a very strong foundation for the future.
"I am looking forward to working with everyone connected with Sussex to help create success in professional cricket, recreational cricket and community programmes and ensuring that Hove remains a very special cricket ground.
"I will be focusing on driving forward the strategy over the next few years and helping write the next chapter in the rich history of cricket in Sussex. These are exciting times for Sussex cricket and cricket in general and I can't wait to get started."
Andrew has some cricket pedigree, having played mainly as an opening batsman for Cambridge University and the Combined Universities in the mid-1980s.
His accomplished rugby career, which included being a World Cup runner-up in 1991 and winning five British and Irish Lions caps, was ended by injury in 1999.
At the time he was acting as director of rugby for Newcastle. He continued as director of rugby until 2006, when he started his decade at the RFU initially as England's director of elite rugby.
In 2011 Andrew briefly held the role of director of rugby operations. Later that year he became professional rugby director, with no responsibility for the England team.
Sussex chairman Jim May said: "He has exceptional experience, both playing and administering sport which will be of great help to our cricket management delivering success.
"Rob will be joining us at an important moment and he fully believes in our strategy of increasing the quantity and quality of participation in the recreational game. This is designed to build a stronger player pathway to ensure that Sussex succeeds at the top level of cricket in the long term."
Andrew succeeds Zac Toumazi, who has been Sussex chief executive since 2013.
May added: "I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Zac, who leaves a strong legacy and with the thanks of everyone involved in Sussex Cricket for his four years at the helm."