Eddings resigns as CA Chair ahead of AGM
Richard Freudenstein installed as interim Chair ahead of Cricket Australia's annual general meeting on Thursday
13 October 2021, 11:21 AM AEST
On the eve of Cricket Australia's annual general meeting, Earl Eddings has announced he will stand down as chair less than a month after he was unanimously endorsed by the CA Board to serve a second term.
Eddings, who has served as a director for 13 years and was first installed as interim chair in 2018 before becoming permanent chair the following year, indicated his decision not to seek re-election at tomorrow's meeting was made in the best interests of cricket and to enable CA to continue its program of board renewal.
It came amid media reports that Eddings had lost crucial support from several states and his re-appointment at tomorrow's AGM was not guaranteed.
CA announced today current director Richard Freudenstein has been elected to the role of interim chair for tomorrow's meeting and will serve in that role until a permanent chair is installed.
"It has been an honour and a privilege to be able to serve the sport I love as a Cricket Australia director," Eddings said in a statement issued today.
"In that time, and particularly during my time as Chair, we have navigated some of the sport’s greatest challenges, including rebuilding the trust and reputation of Australian cricket after the Newlands incident and, more recently, the enormous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and international cricket.
"I am particularly proud of our collective efforts to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 to stage a hugely successful Indian tour last summer and ensure the Ashes can go ahead this summer.
"It has been terrific to be involved in the growth of the women’s game in recent years, from the success of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and Women’s Big Bash League to the continued increase in girls taking up our sport.
"I have also been pleased to strengthen relations with the players through the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA).
"It is my sincere hope that following my resignation the State and Territory associations can unite and work together in the best interests of cricket, allowing the focus to return to the sport ahead of the 2021-22 season.
"I would like to extend my thanks to all of those who have worked hard to support the sport, and me personally, during my term as Chair – my fellow directors and the entire Cricket Australia team, the players and coaching staff, the Australian Cricketers’ Association, the State and Territory cricket associations, our commercial and international partners and every club member and volunteer who keeps the sport thriving in the community.
"My passion for the game is undiminished and I look forward to cheering on our men and women, boys and girls on every stage – from the forthcoming Ashes Tests to weekend club cricket – over the coming summer and beyond."
Eddings, a former Premier Cricket player and administrator with North Melbourne, was elevated to the role of chair following the resignation of David Peever in the wake of a wide-ranging cultural review of CA that flowed from the sandpaper incident at Cape Town in 2018.
At that stage, he was serving as Victoria representative on the CA board but, when Cricket Victoria opposed his installation as permanent chair in 2019, he resigned that position and assumed the role of independent director.
His decision to serve a second term as chair from this year's AGM was confirmed by CA in a statement released last month, noting the decision was made in line with plans for succession planning.
It was announced Eddings would resign from the board during his second term as chair, once a suitable successor had been identified and installed as deputy-chair.
"The Board of Cricket Australia today announces its unanimous endorsement of Earl Eddings for a second and final term as chairman ahead of next month’s annual general meeting, where members will be asked to vote on his re-election as an independent director," that statement said.
"As part of its ongoing succession planning, the board also announces that after the end of the 2021-22 season it will appoint a deputy chair and identified successor to the chair to ensure an orderly period of transition.
"Mr Eddings said that he believed the time was right to outline the process and timing of transitioning to a new chair.
"If nominated and re-elected as a director of Cricket Australia at the AGM, Mr Eddings will step down from the board during his second term, having supported the transition of his successor."
However, reports that Eddings no longer commanded unanimous support from the 10-person board have been cited as reason for the changed decision on the eve of the AGM, with CA confirming the search for a deputy chair as successor to the top job will now be accelerated.
CA also said they aimed to appoint a permanent chair before the end of the year "after a rigorous process involving input from State and Territory members".
In the meantime, Freudenstein will serve in the role of interim chair and take charge of tomorrow's meeting.
The New South Wales-based director was elected to the CA Board at the same 2019 meeting that ratified Eddings as permanent chair.
He is a former CEO of Foxtel and prior to that was CEO of News Digital Media (the digital division of News Corp Australia), The Australian newspaper and was the Chief Operating Officer at British Sky Broadcasting.
Freudenstein is currently a director of REA Group Limited, Coles Group Limited and is the Deputy Chancellor of The University of Sydney.
Tomorrow's AGM will also see a vote for the re-election of state-based directors Lachlan Henderson (WA) and former first-class fast bowler Greg Rowell (Queensland).