Derbyshire were right to let Mark Footitt leave despite the bowler having a year left on his contract, according to chief executive Simon Storey.
Footitt, 29, has joined Division One side Surrey on a four-year deal, citing a desire to play top-tier cricket and enhance his England chances.
Storey told BBC Radio Derby: "There is no point in holding on to a player that doesn't want to be here.
"The challenge to find a replacement is a big one."
Footitt joined Derbyshire in 2010 and claimed 251 wickets in 64 first-class appearances at an average of 25.
His form earned him a call-up to the England set-up during this summer's Ashes and he felt he needed to leave the county to remain in the reckoning for a Test cap.
"We felt Mark could have achieved all his England ambitions with Derbyshire. We respect his decision but our ambition is to produce England players and hold on to our players when they get in to the England side," added Storey.
"Mark made some terrific progress since he joined five years ago We take a big sense of satisfaction of the progress he has made."
Meanwhile, fellow pace bowler Ben Cotton, 22, has signed a one-year contract extension with the county.
The University of Derby graduate took 32 wickets across all formats last season.