Kevin Roberts has been chosen to replace James Sutherland as Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive and he is determined to mend fractured relationships in the sport following the ball-tampering scandal and last year’s pay dispute.
- CA chairman described Mr Roberts as “the best candidate from a very strong field”
- Mr Roberts joined the board in 2012 before moving into an executive role three years later
- Australian Cricketers’ Association was reluctant to negotiate with Mr Roberts on players’ pay dispute last year
Roberts, who became CA’s chief operating officer in May a month before Sutherland announced he would step down as chief executive, played a key role in negotiating the new pay deal with Australian cricketers in July last year that was resolved following a lengthy stand-off.
He was described by CA chairman David Peever as “the best candidate from a very strong field” and is a retired first-class cricketer, having played for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield during the 1990s.
Sutherland had served as chief executive since 2001 and his resignation earlier this year came in the wake of Australia’s ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Roberts, who joined the CA board in 2012 before moving into an executive role three years later, said a priority of his tenure would be restoring the faith of the Australian cricket supporters after the shock of what took place in South Africa last March.
“We won’t be perfect but I can promise you that we’ll be genuine in our quest to build respect and to build trust right across the Australian cricket community,” Roberts told a media conference in Melbourne.
“Everything that we do, that’s everything that we do, will be about uniting and inspiring communities through cricket.”
Roberts was Sutherland’s deputy during last year’s pay dispute and he said rebuilding relationships with stakeholders such as the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) was crucial.
“There will be bumps in the road for cricket along the way, no question,” he said.
“We’re all human and we’ll experience some challenges along the way.
“But when we work on really sincerely and genuinely building that relationship with the ACA, and continuing to strengthen our relationship with players, we’ll be in a far better space.
“Cricket will be in a far better space when it comes time to contemplate the next MoU (memorandum of understanding) down the track.”
Roberts intent on ‘productive engagement’ with ACA
The ACA had been reluctant to negotiate with Roberts during the pay dispute, leaving Sutherland to strike a deal with the players association.
Roberts described the ACA’s stance last year as a “challenging situation” but believed he could enjoy a strong working relationship with its chief executive, Alistair Nicholson.
“I’m intending to pay Alistair the respect of a conversation this afternoon and to continue building our relationship,” he said.
“We’ve both been making an effort to build our relationship and we’ve had some really productive engagement over recent months.
“I don’t intend to do anything more than to continue that and to continue with the work that we’re already doing together with the ACA.”
Nicholson, via an ACA statement, welcomed Roberts’s appointment.
“We look forward to continuing to build bridges between our organisations as we look to grow Australian cricket,” he said.
“CA have identified a need for significant change and the ACA will play its part assisting CA and Kevin throughout this ongoing process.”
First posted Wed at 11:37am via ABC NEWS