CA appoint Kevin Roberts as CEO

CA Board names internal candidate to succeed James Sutherland after a global search

Andrew Ramsey, Senior writer

03 October 2018, 01:04 PM

Kevin Roberts, the former Sheffield Shield cricketer turned global business executive who has recently served as a Cricket Australia director and leader of its executive team, has been appointed as CA's new Chief Executive Officer.

Roberts, 46, was confirmed as the successful candidate after a global recruitment search and will take over the role after CA's annual general meeting on October 25 when James Sutherland – who has held the top job since 2001 – formally steps down.

Roberts played 23 first-class games and 18 domestic one-day matches for NSW as a batter between 1994 and 1998, then held senior management roles within global sportswear brands including adidas and 2XU before returning to cricket in 2015 as CA's Executive General Manager One Team, Strategy and People.

Earlier this year, he was installed as CA's inaugural Chief Operating Officer and he has also served on the boards of Cricket Australia (2012-15), Netball Australia and the Australian Sporting Goods Association.

Roberts, who was a member of the Australia Youth (under-19) team that toured the UK in 1991 and included future Test stars Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Kasprowicz and Greg Blewett, also worked as a cricket development officer and coach.

"It is a great privilege and responsibility to lead and serve the cricket community as CEO of Cricket Australia," Roberts said today. "I thank the Board for this opportunity and look forward to commencing in the role.

"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 and Territory Cricket Associations, along with the contribution of volunteers who are the lifeblood of our game in the community.

"I am inspired by the many people who give so much to cricket in paid and unpaid roles and I am passionate about helping them achieve ongoing success.    

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"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."

Roberts' appointment comes at a time of unprecedented scrutiny upon Australia's on-field and organisational performance, six months after the ball tampering controversy that saw Test captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year, and opener Cameron Bancroft for nine months.

That crisis led to the resignation of men's team coach Darren Lehmann, and initiated a wide-ranging culture review of practices within the men's team and CA more broadly, which is expected to be completed in coming weeks.

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The past year has also seen conclusion of an historic $1.18 billion broadcast rights deal that includes free-to-air coverage of all women's international matches in Australia, strong growth in match attendance and grassroots participation numbers, and a new Memorandum of Understanding with players that brought gender equity to contracts.

In announcing Roberts' appointment today, CA Chairman David Peever acknowledged the organisation continues to face significant challenges – among them the need to deliver improved facilities at playing venues as well as stronger personalised engagement with cricket's fans.

However, he noted that Roberts takes over the leadership role with a "clear mandate" to deliver CA's strategy amid intense competition from rival sport and entertainment providers and a rapidly changing media landscape that makes this an era of rapid and profound change for sporting administrators.

As such, he pointed to Roberts' experience within CA and at the highest levels of Australian cricket in recent years as a key factor in the Board's decision.

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"Our position within the Australian community and as a representative on the global stage is key to our success," Peever said today.

"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 multimillion 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."

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