Jacquie Hey breaks the gender barrier, but is it business or cricket?
Jacqui Hey joins Cricket Australia's Board in a big plus for gender equality, but questions must be asked if CA wants to improve its financials or on-field display more. (Image: Cricket Australia)
Australia has a female Governor General and a female Prime Minister. But for a woman to break into the exclusively male Cricket Australia (CA) took longer.
Yesterday CA broke 107 years of a male exclusive by appointing Jacquie Hey, the former managing director of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, to their Board.
Jacquie was one of three high-powered business people nominated at a special Cricket Australia Board meeting in Melbourne yesterday to take their place as independent directors on the new nine-member Board.
The other two are David Peever, managing director Australia of Rio Tinto and Kevin Roberts, the former NSW batsman and also non-executive director of Netball Australia and former Colorado Group-Fusion retail chief executive.
CA authorised significant changes to Cricket Australia’s governance since the organisation was set up in 1905, setting CA on a path towards having a fully independent Board of nine Directors by 2017, says the media release.
But are these changes for improving the finances of CA or to improve the standard of Australian cricket?
A nine member Board consisting of six state-based representatives and the new independent Directors will hold its inaugural Board meeting in Melbourne today, replacing CA’s historic 14-member Board of Directors appointed by State Cricket Associations.
Under changes formally ratified today, CA’s new Board will start moving in 2015 towards becoming a Board of nine fully-independent Directors by 2017.
At the AGM yesterday, CA Chairman and former Test cricketer Wally Edwards said, “It is an historic day for Australian Cricket.”
He thanked fellow Directors and State Cricket Associations for the nature and outcome of often complex discussions over the last year and said that Australian cricket owed CA Directors, particular those who were effectively voting themselves out of jobs they loved, a debt of gratitude that Australian cricket did not fully realise yet.
“The discussion across Australian cricket has been characterised by a willingness to think and act collectively in the best interests of the game we love and serve,” he added.
He also noted on-field success is not possible unless cricket has its off-field game in good order. “Off-field success doesn’t guarantee on-field success but is a necessary starting point,” he said.
CA reported a record operating surplus of $45.6 million on revenue of $265 million, which was up $97 million, allowing distributions to State Cricket Association members to increase 12% from $63.2 million to $70.5 million. The main driver was the value of media rights for Australian games against India telecast into the Indian subcontinent during last summer.
My concerns are that it seems this AGM was all about making CA financially secure rather than improving the standard of Australian cricket which is at a low ebb.
Roberts brings a cricketing understanding to the Board, but what are the cricketing credentials of Hey and Peever? As a cricket lover, this is my concern, rather than running a for-profit entity that is more concerned about money, than our batting and bowling.
Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.
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