Percy Sonn is to stay on as president of the International Cricket Council until 2009 after failure to reach agreement over who should succeed him.
David Morgan (right) still hopes to win the nomination
At a meeting in Cape Town, officials were unable to decide between England's David Morgan and Sharad Pawar of India.
They were due to put forward a single name for consideration at the ICC's annual conference in June.
Sonn, who has agreed to extend his term of office for a year, described the situation as "unfortunate".
But the South African said: "The positive aspect of the situation is that it illustrates that both Mr Pawar and Mr Morgan had strong support to take over as ICC president and that is a fortunate position for any organization to find itself."
Pawar took over the reins of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 2005 and has the backing of the influential sub-continent vote.
Morgan, now in his fourth year as England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, is understood to have attracted support from Australia and New Zealand.
But to become president elect, a candidate must win two thirds of the votes among the 10 full members of the ICC.
In a statement about his own position, Sonn said: "I have had a busy but immensely enjoyable first year in the role that has seen many plusses for our great game.
"Chief among those have been the adoption of our new strategic plan and the Wada [anti-doping] code, a successful ICC Champions Trophy in India and our new broadcasting agreement with ESPN STAR Sports which will play a major role in promoting cricket and safeguarding its future by offering all of our members financial certainty.
"Now, on the verge of a historic first-ever ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean and with the inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Championships to come in September, I look forward to continuing as president for another two years as we seek to ensure our strong sport continues to grow stronger."