What was the final straw for Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever?

Ross Greenwood speaks to former Cricket Australia Board and International Cricket Council CEO Malcolm Speed after Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever resigned, effective immediately, over a scathing report into the culture of Cricket Australia following the South Africa ball-tampering incident 

Introduction: What was the final straw for Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever?

Ross Greenwood: Let’s start with the news that came out late tonight that David Peever has resigned as the Cricket Australia chairman, let’s go to the former chief executive of the Australian Cricket Board before it became Cricket Australia and also the chairman of the International ICC, Malcolm Speed. Many thanks for your time, Malcolm.

Interview with: Malcolm Speed, Former CEO, Cricket Australia Board and 
 International Cricket Council

Malcolm Speed: Hello, Ross, you’ve got a star-studded cast there tonight.

Ross Greenwood: I’ve got you as well so I’m pretty happy about it, the whole thing I’ve got to say. Look, I just want to go to you first up, you had been critical of the re-appointment of David Peever ahead of the report into the conduct of Australian Cricket being handed down and also about the rift that has taken place between the players and also the administration. Did you believe that his position was untenable as it stood?

Malcolm Speed: The further it went, it was untenable. I think there were two issues that emerged in the last week that sealed David’s fate. The way the report was handled with the state associations, they’re the shareholders of Cricket Australia and the report was given to them for 45 minutes and then it was taken back from them and it was given to them after they had the annual general meeting and re-elected David. It didn’t look right, it didn’t sound right, it wasn’t right. It’s poor governance.

That was the first one and then I think the next one that got in was on the 7:30 report he was being interviewed there and he referred to the incident in South Africa, the ball tampering incident as a hiccup and that was just an indication of how he really didn’t understand the gravity of what Cricket Australia was facing. If he didn’t understand the gravity of it, he wouldn’t be able to deal with it so I think that was what finished him off for us.

Ross Greenwood: Do you think that his role as having come out of the corporate world rather than coming out the world of cricket, do you think that that was an impediment to his judgment?

Malcolm Speed: It shouldn’t be an impediment to his judgment. I think sport seeks to have the best of both worlds. On our boards and running a board like Cricket Australia is quite difficult. It’s a complex media, high media interest. There are lots of stakeholders, the public is widely interested in it, it’s more difficult than it seems. In the best of both worlds we have the board populated by people who had a mixture of a great cricket background and a terrific corporate background and what this does I think is it gives the board of Cricket Australia now the opportunity to move on, gives Kevin Roberts, the new Chief Executive, some space for him to do his job properly.

Cricket Australia I think now has the opportunity to go into a new phase of governance and try to put in place a board that governs the organization with a strong moral and ethical compass and that’s basically what was coming through loud and clear, page after page in the ethics of the long star review report that that was what was missing. I think as much as anything this is the end of a chapter and the start of a new one and I hope it’s a very positive one for cricket.

Ross Greenwood: It really is an indictment that the game has now lost its chairman, its chief executive, its head coach, its captain, and its vice-captain have been stood aside along with an opening bet and I mean really that is the hierarchy of Australian Cricket.

Malcolm Speed: Yes, the decks have been cleared but there have been some good replacements there. Justin Langer as coach is an outstanding choice. I think he’s as good as we’ve had in terms of these ethical and moral issues that we’re talking about there. Justin is very much straight down the line. They’ll be no funny business on Justin Langer’s watch. Tim Paine has been impressive that innings he played in the first test in the UAE was terrific. Kevin Roberts is a new appointee. What I’ve heard of him on the radio recently, he looks good.

When a position becomes vacant, it’s an opportunity for someone else. Looking at the opening batsman there in the UAE, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja, they were the best two players in the team. Opening batsman have stepped up there while the rest of the batting order was pretty ordinary but that’s the problem that the Australian Cricket has had for a while.

Ross Greenwood: If tapped on the shoulder, Malcolm Speed, would you consider becoming the chairman of Cricket Australian?

Malcolm Speed: Ross, it’s not going to happen. I’ve had a great time in cricket. What it needs is– it’s a tough job I must say it involves a very- international component. There is lots of international meetings with the chairman of Cricket Australia. He is required to attend and the heavy duty meeting in far-flung places and then there’s not only running the board here and as I said it’s a complex business but lots of board meetings, lots of meetings with the other stakeholders. It’s not a full-time job but it’s a good two or three days a week. I’m at the stage of life where I’m winding down rather than winding up so it’s not going to happen and I think it will be too much for me in any event.

Ross Greenwood: Malcolm Speed, the former Australian Cricket Board chief executive, and chief executive of the International Cricket Council. A great man and a good man to get on to talk about this as well. Malcolm, I appreciate your time.

Malcolm Speed: Thanks, Ross, good to talk to you.

Ross Greenwood: I should have also said during that that Earl Eddings has stepped in as the interim chairman, one of the board members there.

Image source: 2GB

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