Former AFL footballer Alistair Nicholson has been named as the new chief executive officer of the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA). Nicholson will step into the role on October 27, filling the significant hole left by the long-serving Paul Marsh, who announced in June that he was leaving to become the new head of the AFL Players' Association.
Nicholson will join the ACA from his current role as head of entertainment strategy with Gemba, a sports consulting firm that he began working with while he was still an AFL player. A tall defender, Nicholson played 110 games for Melbourne during a ten-year AFL career from 1997 to 2006, and sat on the AFL Players' Association executive.
"His exposure to the issues faced by athletes during his time with the AFLPA, combined with his roles at Gemba make him a great choice for the position," Greg Dyer, the ACA president, said.
Shane Watson, who sits on the ACA executive and was part of the committee that chose Nicholson for the role, said he would be a good fit for the organisation.
"We're thrilled to welcome Alistair on board," Watson said. "In addition to his background in sport from a business and strategic viewpoint, Alistair has an impressive understanding of issues from a player's perspective, which I'm sure will resonate with current players as well as the broader ACA membership.
"I know the players will look forward to working with him and continuing the ACA's history of strong and passionate representation, and providing us with a vital collective voice in the game."
Nicholson said he was honoured to be chosen for the CEO position, which has had only two previous holders - Marsh and his predecessor Tim May.
"I am passionate about the range of issues facing players and motivated by the desire to ensure access to world leading services, including supporting players to prepare themselves for their post sporting life," Nicholson said. "The ACA is a terrific organisation and has achieved a large amount in a relatively short period.
"The current partnership approach provides a strong basis to build upon and I look forward to working with all stakeholders to grow the game of cricket in an increasingly sophisticated sporting environment, both in Australia and overseas."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale