A former Test opening batsman will be replaced by a sometime club cricketer and corporate heavyweight when David Peever takes over from Wally Edwards as chairman of Cricket Australia - and head of the ICC's newly formed and influential ExCo - next year.
Peever, the managing director of the mining giant Rio Tinto's Australian operations from 2009 until retiring earlier this year, was appointed deputy chairman of CA at a board meeting on Friday, and will duly replace Edwards when his term expires at the 2015 AGM in October. His elevation to a major role in global cricket is an escalation of CA's desire to be governed by accomplished and independent directors, after a raft of structural changes in 2012.
Central to the re-shaping of Australian cricket's decision-making was the appointment of 56-year-old Peever, Jacquie Hey and Kevin Roberts as the board's first fully independent directors in 2012. They have made their presence felt in asking hard questions of CA management at the board table since then, and Peever has now emerged to assume a role made doubly influential by the drastic changes made to the ICC earlier this year, ceding enormous power and influence to the boards of India, Australia and England.
"The board this morning has appointed David Peever as our deputy chairman," Edwards said, announcing his successor. "David will be the next chairman. I'll remain chairman until October 2015, we make our appointment now so the deputy chairman can get involved with me initially in the international area, we have the ICC conference coming up in June in Melbourne, and that's the first chance for David to start meeting and mingling with a lot of the international people in the world of cricket.
"David joined the board in October 2012 when we did our governance changes. He was the managing director of Rio Tinto in Australia. He's been a terrific contributor for the nearly two years he's been on the board, he's brought a lot of business acumen to the board, and I'm sure he'll continue to do that and develop it further. He's got a deep passion for cricket, and I'll be working closely with him over the next 18 months to ensure a smooth transition."
Raised in Queensland, Peever was a modest opening batsman for the Easts cricket club, and has noted his apprehension when occasionally facing his better-known clubmates including Craig McDermott, Carl Rackemann and Geoff Dymock in the nets. However it is his business acumen that CA have sought to carry on from the governance changes driven largely by Edwards since his appointment in 2011.
"As deputy chairman my priority is going to be to continue to do what we've done the last 18 months since I've been on the board, and that is to support Wally, James [Sutherland, chief executive] and his team with the board to progress in the way we have, especially on the governance front," Peever said. "In particular our strong focus is going to be really unifying Australian cricket and continuing down that path. We do have a way to go, but Australian cricket can be in a pre-eminent position over a long period of time if we can get this unification going the way it can."
While Peever is well attuned to CA's desire to continue its process of unification and alignment, so all the six states work more cohesively together for common goals, he has plenty of learning to do about the labyrinthine politics of the global game. He will now be travelling extensively in the company of Edwards to meet and understand cricket's overseas custodians, from the financial powerbrokers in India and England, to the administrators of the many Associate nations.
"I'd say the ICC's in much better shape now than it was when I came into the job and it will be better in another 18 months," Edwards said. "But it's really getting to meet the people - there's a lot to get to know from various positions right through to the associates, Ireland, Afghanistan and other places. It's important to get a feel for the way it works, the way people think, and get a bit of an understanding of the ICC itself."
Peever's other corporate roles include directorships with the Melbourne Business School and the Business Council of Australia, and membership of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council and the Department of Defence Gender Equality Advisory Board. The last two positions will be of some significance as Peever also works on CA's aspirations to diversify cricket's following in Australia.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig