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Internal experience was cited by Cricket Australia’s chairman David Peever as the reason to choose Kevin Roberts as chief executive of Cricket Australia, replacing James Sutherland after 17 years. Roberts, who led CA’s side of last year’s fractious pay dispute with the Australian Cricketers’ Association, is a former first-class batsman with extensive management experience in the corporate sector.

But it was his time with CA, first as a board director from 2012 to 2015 and as a senior executive over the past three years, that won him the endorsement of CA. Among his first statements of intent was to “deepen relationships” both within CA and with its partners, including the ACA.

“Our position within the Australian community and as a representative on the global stage is key to our success,” Peever said. “Kevin is the best candidate for our organisation and has been given a clear mandate by the board to deliver our strategy to ensure cricket maintains a strong and sustainable foothold in sport locally and globally. Given the complexity of the role and the increasing challenges facing our sport, the board concluded that an internal candidate with first-hand experience driving strategic transformation and engagement at CA would be best placed to help ensure continued success for Australian cricket.

“Kevin’s vast corporate leadership experience within Australia and overseas, his leadership of the development and implementation of our strategy, his demonstrated ability to lead change through the One Team transformation, and his deep pedigree in cricket, both on and off the field, outline why Kevin was identified as the best candidate from a very strong list.

“Kevin will continue to focus on the implementation of our multi-million dollar investment in community cricket, along with leading our commitment to create the best participation experiences to be the leading sport for women and girls. It is a great opportunity for a new chief executive officer to lead the organisation through its next exciting phase.”

The role was described as a privilege by Roberts. “It is a great privilege and responsibility to lead and serve the cricket community as CEO of Cricket Australia,” he said. “One of the many things I love about cricket as our national sport is its ability to bring people together and inspire us, regardless of our age, gender or cultural background. Our success is made possible by the hard work of Cricket Australia employees, players, coaches and State & Territory Cricket Associations, along with the contribution of volunteers who are the lifeblood of our game in the community. I am inspired by many people who give so much to cricket in paid and unpaid roles and I am passionate about helping them achieve ongoing success.

“It’s also true that the game and Cricket Australia have faced some difficult times recently, but we will bounce back, just as our organisation has overcome challenges on and off the field many times in its proud history. Under my leadership, we will be deeply committed to providing the best experiences of cricket to everyone who watches the game or plays the game, and we will work closely with our broadcasters and commercial partners to deliver on that commitment.”

Sutherland was paid a warm tribute by Peever. “As James concludes his extraordinary tenure as CEO, he leaves a strong foundation to meet the future demands of our game,” he said. “Thanks to James’ leadership and the collective effort from hundreds of people across Australian cricket, the path has been set to deliver on the bold aspirations to grow cricket as Australia’s favourite sport and a sport for all Australians.”

The new chief executive also received his predecessor’s public blessing. “I am confident Kevin is ready to lead Australian cricket through the sport’s next stage of growth. He has been a key member of our executive team over recent years and provided terrific support to me in my role. I congratulate him on his appointment and wish him the very best.”

More to follow…

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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