James Sutherland has resigned as the chief executive officer of Cricket Australia (CA).
After 17 years in the role, Sutherland announced his resignation in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.
It has been a disastrous few months for Australian cricket. The ball-tampering saga in the 3-1 Test series defeat in South Africa, which saw leadership duo Steve Smith and David Warner banned for a year, was followed by former Australia head coach Darren Lehmann resigning.
Now, just over two months later, Sutherland has handed in a 12 months’ notice and will continue in his role until a replacement is found.
‘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 a press release.
‘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, 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.
‘As it has been over the last 20 years, it will be a privilege and honour to continue to serve the game over the remaining months that I am in office.’
His resignation comes a week prior to Australia’s ODI series opener against England in London – one of the biggest money-drawers in cricket.
During his tenure, he has increased the participation of the sport in Australia from 400,000 to 1.4-million, as recorded in last August’s national cricket census, with a massive focus on grassroots development.
‘On behalf of the board and management of Cricket Australia, we thank James for his wonderful service to the game,’ said CA chairman, David Peever.
‘James has been instrumental in driving crucial change around the game to make it even stronger for future generations.
‘During his period of leadership, James has retained a strong passion for junior cricket and its fundamental importance in providing sustainable growth to the sport. To that end, cricket has experienced a 228% increase in participation including a near ten-fold increase in female participation.
‘Aggregate attendances have increased by 137%, whilst revenue has also increased nearly ten-fold, being around $50-million when James commenced in the position, to around $500-million today.’
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images