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Cricket Australia has appointed Nick Hockley, chief executive of the Twenty20 World Cup, to replace Kevin Roberts as its new boss.
CA chairman Earl Eddings announced the shake-up on Tuesday, despite Roberts having 18 months to run on his contract.
Hockley, an Englishman who leads the T20 World Cup organising committee, is understood to have been appointed as CA’s interim chief while the organisation hunts for a permanent new chief.
“Whilst it has been a testing time, it’s an absolute privilege to be asked to take this role,” Hockley said.
Roberts is the third CEO of a major Australian sporting code to exit during the coronavirus crisis, after Todd Greenberg (NRL) and Raelene Castle (Rugby Australia).
Both Greenberg and Castle departed in the past two months.
CA’s board has grown increasingly frustrated by Roberts’ handling of the financial fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roberts was given the top job in October 2018 after James Sutherland’s 17-year tenure, beating a field that featured former Cricket NSW chairman John Warn, CA director John Harnden and WACA chief executive Christina Matthews.
Warn, Harnden and Matthews would all be highly-rated candidates should they wish to apply again.
Former Hyundai executive Scott Grant, appointed CA’s chief operating officer in January 2019, has been serving as Roberts’ deputy.
Grant and Eddings had been shouldering a big workload in recent months, featuring prominently in CA’s talks with the players’ association and state associations.
The governing body had sought to slash costs by 25 per cent across the board, including state funding, but NSW and Queensland refused to accept the cuts.
CA staff, of which the vast majority have been stood down for the rest of the financial year, are desperate for some clarity and certainty regarding their future.
Roberts was expected to reveal a round of redundancies on Wednesday but it is now unclear whether the extent and timeline of those cuts will change.
Winning back disgruntled staff is one of many challenges faced by Eddings.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has already lodged a formal dispute regarding CA’s revenue forecasts, while TV broadcasters are expected to try to renegotiate the $1.2 billion deal that will soon enter its third year.