David Peever set to quit as Cricket Australia chairman

1:37 AM ETDaniel BrettigAssistant Editor, ESPNcricinfo CloseFollow on TwitterFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint

David Peever, Cricket Australia’s chairman, is expected to exit his role only a week after being re-elected for a further three years, as a result of this week’s fierce reaction to the release of a damning cultural review of the governing body that followed the Newlands ball tampering scandal.

A day after three of the six states – New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria – stopped short of endorsing his chairmanship, Peever is understood to have taken the call to depart, after joint reviews conducted by Dr Simon Longstaff of the Ethics Centre and the former Test opening batsman Rick McCosker questioned why CA’s leadership had not been as accountable as the players. A board meeting must be held to confirm Peever’s exit.

While the replacement for Peever is unclear, it may not necessarily be his deputy Earl Eddings, announced as the heir apparent last week at the AGM where the chairman was re-elected. Jacquie Hey, who joined the board on the same day as Peever and the new chief executive Kevin Roberts six years ago, impressed publicly on the day the review was released, while the former senior administrators Malcolm Speed and Bob Merriman have both called for Mark Taylor to take up the role. John Harnden, a CA board director, and chairman of the Australia Grand Prix Corporation is another name that could feature.

Last week, Peever and the CA board elected not to release the cultural review to their state association owners until after the AGM, a move that has been universally criticised by the likes of Speed and also the sporting governance expert Colin Carter. This decision caused considerable disquiet among the states, leading to discussions around whether they could support CA’s leadership.

At the same time, Peever struggled noticeably in publicly explaining the review, accepting accountability for the cultural failings of the organisation but also insisting he was the right man to take CA forward. He faced further criticism after an interview on 7:30 with the ABC journalist Leigh Sales, in which he described events in South Africa as a “hiccup”.

Peever’s departure will conclude a round of changes at CA including the appointment of new men’s team captains in Tim Paine and Aaron Finch, a new coach in Justin Langer, and a new executive in Roberts, who replaced the departing James Sutherland after 17 years in charge. The team performance manager Pat Howard has also indicated he will exit when his contract expires next year.

Having joined the CA board in 2012, Peever succeeded Wally Edwards as chairman in 2015, and has overseen a series of misadventures including last year’s fractious pay dispute with the Australian Cricketers Association, the Cape Town fiasco, and his leaked intervention into this year’s broadcast rights negotiations.

The former board director Bob Every resigned earlier this year in protest at Peever’s decision to seek a second term as chairman. The cultural review, which also revealed considerable tension between CA and the states under a new governance model unveiled in 2012, stated bluntly that administrators needed to be as accountable as players.

“One of Argus’s main themes was the need to foster a culture of accountability. It was an admirable aim – but one that has not been realised,” the review stated. “While those who lead ‘on the field’ are held personally accountable for their performance – liable to be ‘dropped’ for poor results or dismissed for bad conduct. The same standards do not apply to those who administer and govern the game. The issue here is one of consistency in relation to the obligations of leadership. One of the ‘hard truths’ of leadership is that a person may need to accept responsibility for matters over which they do not exercise direct control – both for acts and omissions in the conduct of one’s leadership.

“In some respects, this is a ‘sign of the times’. In general, standards of personal responsibility are lower than in times past e.g. when Government Ministers accepted responsibility for the conduct of their Departments. This is first and foremost a matter for individuals; under what circumstances will they accept and declare personal responsibility. It is the age-old question of cricket … are the leaders of the game like the batsman or batswoman who outsources responsibility to the umpire or do they take their cue from the fielder whose integrity is their own?”

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