Rahul Johri, the CEO of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), has finally had his resignation accepted by the top bosses and he has been asked to leave office with immediate effect. Johri’s contract was due to expire in 2021 but he will leave a year before it runs out.
Johri’s initial decision to quit came in December not long after BCCI elected Sourav Ganguly as President. His continuation, despite not being given an extension was a sign of things to come. His role within the organisation diminished as the Board decided to reset management to as it was before the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) took charge of proceedings. Ganguly along with BCCI secretary Jay Shah have chaired all the key BCCI meetings since and are representatives to the ICC meetings.
While the top level management have not made any comments on the matter, a senior officer from BCCI informed PTI that Johri’s resignation had been accepted after an initial reluctance to let him go.
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The reluctance, the source said, was because of the Board’s concern over Johri finding a job during the coronavirus outbreak. A recent leak of confidential financial information over the tender for team sponsorship, though, seems to have made him the fall guy.
Speaking to the IANS, another source said that the leak was one of the chief reasons for his resignation being accepted and him being informed of the decision to let him go via email.
“He had resigned earlier and was asked to continue in the interim,” the source said. “However the leak of confidential financial information of a bid that was being prepared accelerated the decision. Highest levels of confidentiality are expected when any bid takes place in an organisation.”
Johri is the second senior official to exit the BCCI's professional wing after Santosh Rangnekar quit as the chief financial officer (CFO) last November. Rangnekar had resigned not long after the Ganguly administration was elected in October.
Johri and Rangnekar had both been hired after the Lodha Committee recommendations that asked the BCCI to separate their governance from their management. The appointment -- part of then BCCI President Shashank Manohar’s ‘Project Transformation’ -- hoped to improve and provide more transparency in the board’s governance and financial processes.
Soon though Johri assumed more powers when he joined the CoA and was key to fostering the truce between the BCCI and the ICC regarding the new finance model. In October 2018 Johri was also accused of sexual harassment by a woman who worked with him at Discovery Network Asia Pacific.
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Johri, who was executive vice-president and general manager (South Asia) for Discovery, before joining the BCCI as its CEO in 2016, was accused of taking advantage of the woman by offering a job. He was named in a Twitter post by author Harnidh Kaur, who shared screenshots of a detailed account by the survivor, narrating the harassment incident on her Twitter handle @PedestrianPoet. Johri denied the charges and the BCCI initiated an independent inquiry into the accusations (despite Committee of Administrators member Diana Eduljicalling for his sacking).
In November, Johri resumed office after an independent committee appointed by the CoA pronounced him not guilty and gave him a clean chit. His clearance was not without controversy though. Edulji was against chairman Vinod Rai’s decision to allow Johri to assume office after the probe panel cleared him of charges.
Speaking to IANS, Edulji was keen to point out that Johri’s exit was good riddance. "Women cricketers and staff will heave a sigh of relief and after all this indiscipline during nomination of coaches and all, he was rewarded with an increment which I was against. Better late than never. Justice has been done," she said.
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