Downton’s job is to disappear following an inquest into England’s poor World Cup campaign led by the ECB’s new chief executive Tom Harrison.
The managing director role is to be replaced by a new job, director of England cricket, prompting Downton’s departure after just 14 months.
In a statement confirming the news Harrison acknowledged the progress made by the Test team during Downton’s tenure, but the statement pointedly said the new role would focus??on “delivering a world-class performance environment for all formats”.??
“The England Cricket Department needs to deliver performance at the highest level and our structure needs to be accountable for reaching the standards we aspire to,” Harrison said.
“The new role we are putting in place will deliver an environment where world-class performance is at the heart of everything we do.
“Paul is a man of great integrity who has worked extremely hard to make a difference at the ECB. He joined at a very difficult time, but under his leadership the Test team have made significant strides. We thank him for his hard work, drive and determination and wish him every success for the future.
“The touring team in the West Indies are aware of the changes. The process for appointing the new role, with sole responsibility for the England set-up, will begin immediately.”
News of Downton’s departure comes at a time of significant change at the top of the English game: Harrison officially began work in January, while Colin Graves will replace outgoing chairman Giles Clarke in mid-May.
Graves has already made waves by demanding England beat West Indies in the upcoming Test series and reopening the debate over Kevin Pietersen’s long-term future.
His comments on Pietersen contradicted Downton’s stance that there was no way back for the batsman, who has not played for England since the Ashes whitewash of 2013/4.
Downton also backed Alastair Cook to lead England into the World Cup in December just days before he was sacked and replaced by Eoin Morgan.