Cricket Australia confirms CEO has walked
Out-of-favour official Kevin Roberts has confirmed his resignation as chief executive of Cricket Australia.
The news was confirmed on Tuesday as Cricket Australia announced the appointment of Nick Hockley, currently CEO of the ICC T20 World Cup, as interim chief executive, effective immediately.
It followed 24 hours of speculation the former top Aussie cricket official was being forced out the door after falling out of favour with members of the CA board.
Roberts is walking away with more than 18 months still running on his contract.
CA chairman Earl Eddings said in a statement the game would begin an international search for the best man to eventually replace Hockley as CEO.
There has been unsubstantiated speculation former NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg is considering applying for the position.
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Roberts has become the third CEO of a major Australian sporting code to exit during the coronavirus crisis, following 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 of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roberts was given the top job in October 2018 following James Sutherland's 17-year tenure, beating a field that featured former Cricket NSW chairman John Warn, current CA director John Harnden and WACA chief executive Christina Matthews.
On Tuesday morning, Aussie legend Ian Healy said Roberts was paying the price for sparking a "panic" about the sport's financial situation.
"He's led a panic, a very premature panic, on the pandemic for no great reason and no reason he's been able to explain transparently to the states and the players," Healy told SEN on Tuesday.
"Kevin's going to cop it ... but how does the board let that happen?
"Not only has Kevin implemented a lot of strategies that have turned a lot of people sour... the board of Cricket Australia has overseen all that."
Roberts said in a statement released at midday he did not hold any grudges for the circumstances behind his departure.
Roberts said: "It's been a privilege to lead and serve the sport I love as CEO of Cricket Australia. Our team of staff and players are outstanding people who contribute so much to the game and I'm proud of what we've achieved together.
"I'd like to thank the army of volunteers in communities across the country who are the lifeblood of our sport, enabling kids to experience the game and to dream about emulating their heroes in our national teams. As a lifelong and passionate member of the cricket community, I look forward to seeing the game thrive into the future."
The governing body had sought to slash costs by 25 per cent across the board, including states' funding, but NSW and Queensland refused to accept the cuts. CA staff, the vast majority of which have been stood down for the rest of the financial year, are desperate for some clarity and certainty regarding their uncertain 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 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.
- with AAP
Originally published as Cricket confirms CEO has walked