Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Silverware for the Riverside Trophy Room; NORTH EAST BUSINESS EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR Sponsored by David Harker - Chief Executive of Durham County Cricket Club

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Silverware for the Riverside Trophy Room; NORTH EAST BUSINESS EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR Sponsored by David Harker - Chief Executive of Durham County Cricket Club

Article excerpt

THERE'S no shortage of silverware in the trophy cabinet at the Riverside these days.

But the latest addition to a collection which, of course, includes the prestigious County Championship trophy, is not typical of those associated with even the most successful sports clubs.

Durham County Cricket Club chief executive David Harker picked up the North East Business Executive of the Year trophy as recognition of his leadership skills which have transformed the club over the nine years he has been in the role.

The former accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers joined Durham CCC in 1991, the year it gained its first-class status and was appointed chief executive in 2000. Since then it has been one of the great North East sporting success stories - culminating in two successive County Championship titles.

Harker, who lives in Prudhoe, Northumberland, admits he was "thrilled but a little surprised" when his name was read out as the overall winner of the prestigious award last week.

He is quick, however, to stress that it was an honour for all of the team at the cricket club.

"That point about the club is a key one," he said. "I was representing all the backroom staff. And while we would never claim credit for the success on the field, we have nevertheless made a contribution to what has been achieved."

The club's Riverside home has undergone a radical transformation over the years into the impressive stadium it is today - and there are ambitious pounds 45m plans to take it on to the next level by 2011. From 2013, the Riverside will also be an Ashes venue - a true feather in the cap for the region.

Harker's ambition and vision have been fundamental in helping this transformation take place, earning Durham a reputation as the most progressive county in English cricket. And, while he recognises that a cricket club may not be regarded by some as a business in the traditional sense, he has had to display all the hallmarks of a great chief executive to enable this to happen.

"We are a business without a doubt - in the business of sport, but still a business," he said.

Like every other business, 2009 has proved a challenging time, but the club has managed to identify new sources of funding. …

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