James Sutherland has announced he is standing down as Cricket Australia’s CEO, revealing he will leave the organisation in 12 months’ time.
In a hastily called press conference on Wednesday morning, Sutherland said the time is right for someone new to lead Cricket Australia forward.
Sutherland’s decision will end his 17-year reign leading Australian cricket, a period which has seen a number of successes, including the establishment of the Big Bash, an increase in wages for female cricketers, and a new billion-dollar broadcast deal which will start this summer.
Australia’s men’s and women’s national teams have also enjoyed plenty of on-field victories during Sutherland’s tenure.
However, Sutherland’s legacy has been tarnished somewhat by a couple of events in the past 12 months, notably the pay dispute between CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association which saw the game’s professional players go on strike last year, and the ball-tampering scandal during the men’s Test tour of South Africa earlier in 2018.
Now, with the new broadcast deal signed and ball tampering saga over, Sutherland said the time is right for him to vacate his role.
“After nearly 20 years at Cricket Australia, the time is right. I feel very comfortable that this is the right time for me and a good time for the game,” Sutherland said.
“In the last 12 months we have laid key foundation stones which have included a new strategy for Australian cricket, a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Cricketers’ Association that provides certainty for our male and female cricketers, and just recently, a new domestic broadcast rights deals that will see broader TV coverage and significant increases in revenue flowing into the game.
“With these foundations in place, I feel that it is a good time to hand over the reins to a new CEO. My successor will have a strong and stable platform from which to lead our national strategy and to deliver on our bold aspirations to grow cricket as Australia’s favourite sport and a sport for all Australians.”
Sutherland’s decision to give 12 months’ notice before leaving his position will give Cricket Australia plenty of time to find a successor. CA’s board has appointed an external agency – Egon Zehnder – to conduct the search for a replacement.
While Sutherland is headed for the exit, current chairman David Peever will stay in his current for one more three-year term.