Sport Cricket Australia boss out ahead of looming staff cuts
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Cricket Australia boss out ahead of looming staff cuts

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Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts has been dumped, as CA staff will wait on news of redundancies. Photo: AAP
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Cricket Australia will soon detail widespread staff cuts after axing Kevin Roberts as chief executive.

Roberts departs amid acrimony over his handling of staff stand downs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nick Hockley, chief executive of the Twenty20 World Cup, replaces Kevin Roberts as interim CEO.

CA chairman Earl Eddings is in the process of informing staff of their futures, with 200 people stood down on 20 per cent pay since April.

“No doubt, they’re hurting,” Eddings said on Tuesday.

“It’s a necessary thing for us to be able to cut the costs of our organisation … we are not through the crisis yet.”

He said Roberts had resigned, despite having 18 months to run on his contract.

“Kevin has led this organisation through some very difficult times; he remains a person of principle and integrity,” Eddings said.

“Kevin feels and the board agrees that it is time for new leadership.”

Eddings hoped to publicly detail the range of staff cuts on Wednesday, a day after Roberts’ departure.

Roberts becomes the third CEO of a major Australian sporting code to exit during the coronavirus crisis, after Todd Greenberg (NRL) and Raelene Castle (Rugby Australia).

“It’s challenging times and all the things we have had to do going forward requires a new style of leadership … now it’s time for a significant shift,” Eddings said.

CA’s board grew increasingly frustrated by Roberts’ handling of the financial fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Eddings conceding communication failures.

“We could have done our communication better … it could have been clearer and more concise,” he said.

Roberts was given the top job in October 2018 after James Sutherland’s 17-year tenure.

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Twenty20 World Cup boss Nick Hockley will take over at Cricket Australia. Photo: AAP

Hockley, an Englishman who leads the T20 World Cup organising committee, was non-committal about seeking the role on a permanent basis. But he said he would relish the opportunity to help CA in the immediate future.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be asked to take on this role, even on a temporary basis,” he said.

Hockley’s appointment signified the dwindling prospect of Australia hosting the T20 World Cup this October and November.

“I would say it is unlikely… Trying to get 16 countries into Australia when most countries are still going through COVID spiking is unrealistic or very, very difficult,” Eddings said.

CA has submitted a proposal to host the event next year to the International Cricket Council, which will make a decision in July.

Separately, CA had sought to slash costs by 25 per cent across the board, which included state funding. But NSW and Queensland refused to accept the cuts.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association had already lodged a formal dispute regarding CA’s revenue forecasts.

Television broadcasters Fox Sports and the Seven Network were expected to try to renegotiate the $1.2 billion deal that will soon enter its third year.

“The media industry is going through a whole range of disruption,” Eddings said.

“We have lost no content … we held up our end of the bargain and I’m sure Channel Seven and Foxtel will as well.”

-with AAP