Malcolm Walter Speed
September 14, 1948, Melbourne, Victoria
Malcolm Speed was appointed to the post of ICC chief executive in 2001 after a successful four-year spell as chairman of the Australian Cricket Board. Before going into sports administration, Speed was a barrister in Melbourne, and he combined the two roles until he quit to concentrate on sports in 1994. From 1980 to 1997 he held senior positions in Australian basketball and from 1993 to 1997 was chairman of the Victorian Council for Fitness and Health.
Under his stewardship, the ICC has rebranded itself extensively, although the overtly corporate nature of, particularly, the 2003 World Cup and the following year's Champions Trophy has come in for extensive criticism. Speed's ability to turn a blind eye has occasionally come back to bite him - during his time in charge of the ACB, it was revealed that he had fined Shane Warne and Mark Waugh for their dalliances with bookmakers a full four years before this was made public, and it wasn't until he was foolishly snubbed by the Zimbabwe Cricket Board during a trip to Harare in 2004 that he softened his attitude towards England's reluctant tourists. Speed's standing was hardly enhanced by his initial stubborn refusal to admit to the failings of the 2007 World Cup, and then when he was no longer able to defend the indefensible, his attempts to heap the blame on the local organisers. The ICC certainly made millions of dollars, but the damage to the image of the game was significant.
A man with a long-standing interest in the implications of gambling in sport, in April 2005 he called for the criminalisation of "cheating in sport". He formed a particularly effective partnership with Ehsan Mani during his three-year stint as president, including cutting the ICC's 96-year ties with Lord's. But Percy Sonn, who succeeded Mani, was a quite different character, and it soon became clear that the two would not be nearly as close. At a time the Indian board was flexing its muscles more than ever and challenging the authority of the ICC, that was the last thing that the ICC - or Speed - needed.
Sonn's death mid-tenure thrust Ray Mali into the limelight and Speed soon and he soon grew distant. A far from polished operator, Mali's unquestioning defence of Zimbabwe's board ultimately caused a rift between the pair which led to Speed being put on gardening leave two months before he was due to stand down as factions looked to settle old scores. It was an undeserved end to his tenure, and left Mali and the ICC with their reputations further dented.