Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Nick Hockley, the chief executive of the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, has been unveiled as the interim CEO of Cricket Australia on Tuesday as Kevin Roberts’ exit from the organisation was finalised.
CA chairman Earl Eddings on Tuesday confirmed the departure of Roberts, which was revealed by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Monday, saying he had resigned.
Eddings said the details of Roberts’ financial settlement with CA were confidential and a restructure at the governing body involving staff redundancies would be rolled out on Wednesday.
The chairman said it was time for new leadership, describing the move as “an opportunity to bring Australian cricket together”.
“I think Kevin and I and the board have worked out over the last three to four months that things do need to change. Kevin has tendered his resignation, it was agreed by us and we’re moving forward,” Eddings said.
Hockley, the Englishman who heads the T20 World Cup organising committee, was named Roberts’ interim replacement while CA launches a worldwide search for a full-time successor.
“It’s an absolute privilege to take on this role, even on an interim basis,” Hockley said. “It is without doubt one of the great jobs in Australian sport and with that comes an enormous responsibility.”
He oversaw the successful women’s T20 World Cup, which culminated with a crowd of more than 86,000 watching Meg Lanning’s Australian team clinch the trophy at the MCG on March 8.
Hockley has been spearheading plans for the men’s event, due to take place in October and November in Australia, but it will almost certainly be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The board sees him as a safe pair of hands to steer CA in the coming months while a successor to Roberts is sought.
Roberts will leave the organisation after only 20 months in the job and with 18 months remaining on his contract.
“It’s been a privilege to lead and serve the sport I love as CEO of Cricket Australia,” Roberts said. “Our team of staff and players are outstanding people who contribute so much to the game and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.
“I’d like to thank the army of volunteers in communities across the country who are the lifeblood of our sport, enabling kids to experience the game and to dream about emulating their heroes in our national teams. As a lifelong and passionate member of the cricket community, I look forward to seeing the game thrive into the future.”
Despite his departure, CA faces a task to win back the support of key stakeholders including state associations and Australia’s players, who have rallied against the cost-cutting measures from head office, believing them to be excessive
Staff were also angered after 80 per cent of the CA workforce was stood down in April on 20 per cent pay while executives like Roberts had their salary drop to 80 per cent. More than 150 employees in cricket have lost their jobs around the states because of costs being slashed during the COVID-19 period and redundancies at CA have been forecast for this week.
Eddings defended the actions taken by CA during the pandemic on behalf of the nine-member board, saying he did not think Roberts had lost the support of the staff.
“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Kevin and the management team over the last few months,” he said. “Ultimately the board takes all responsibility … me as chair, I’m the one ultimately responsible for the organisation, hence why we’ve made these changes today as well as what we’re doing tomorrow.
I take responsibility for everything. We are living in very unprecedented times and our response has been in line with all other sporting organisations in recent months. It would be naive to think Australian cricket wouldn’t be affected. As things emerge and change, we’ll re-adapt our plans but ultimately it’s my responsibility and the board’s responsibility.”
Melbourne-based Eddings maintained he was the right person to continue as chairman, having started in the role following the resignation of David Peever in late 2018.
“I think so. I like the job … it’s been challenging,” he said. “While the board still wants me I’m still here and I think I’m the person for the job.”
He said the hunt for a new CEO would not be limited to people in cricket.
“We’ll look at all options. It’s such an important role,” he said. “We’ll search long and wide and get the best possible person for the role.”