New South Wales wants governance reform at Cricket Australia

Questions over the level of pay to the CA chairman's role brings were also raised

There is more upheaval at board level for Cricket Australia  •  Getty Images

There is more upheaval at board level for Cricket Australia  •  Getty Images

Cricket Australia has been urged to commit to governance reform by its most powerful shareholder amid a backdrop of disgruntled and divergent state associations, half of which toppled Earl Eddings.
Eddings resigned as CA chair on Wednesday, having lost the support of NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. The power shake-up, on the eve of the governing body's annual general meeting and a tick under two months out from the men's Ashes, means the sport is in a state of flux yet again.
CA's interim chairman Richard Freudenstein fronted Thursday's virtual AGM, insisting his organisation had listened to its states' concerns and will engage "more consistently and more deeply".
"I will commit that there will be more chair and ACC [Australian Cricket Council] meetings in the near future," Freudenstein told Cricket NSW equivalent John Knox.
Knox, who led the charge to oust Eddings and predecessor David Peever, called for improved consultation and communication, tweaks to CA's nomination process for new directors and better succession planning.
The former Credit Suisse Australia chief executive also requested a review of the role of chair and its responsibilities, noting Eddings' income created an environment where "the chair needs to act like an executive to justify the compensation".
"It is highly unusual in any business or sporting environment that the chair of any organisation would be paid such a significant multiple of what other directors are," Knox said.
Freudenstein pushed back regarding that issue while speaking with reporters, claiming "there are very good reasons why the chair's pay is what it is".
"The role of chair is different to the role in many other sports bodies and that's because of the international aspect that comes with it," he said. "There are significant responsibilities with the ICC, as well as all the bilateral relationships. As well as managing a complicated federated system in Australia, and you've seen the level of complication that can cause."
CA reported a $151,000 loss for 2020-21; a significantly better outcome than what was forecast during last year's cost-cutting mission that so deeply frustrated NSW and Queensland.
The AGM was not nearly as tense as it might have been if Eddings was present, with Freudenstein, CA chief executive Nick Hockley and even Knox thanking the deposed Victorian for his service.
But as CA starts searching for its third chair in a tick over three years, the state of its strained relationship with shareholders was clear.
"It is crucial the shareholders and board of Cricket Australia work closely together over the next few months to learn from the past and put in place the necessary changes," Knox said.
Cricket Victoria chair David Maddocks lamented the rolling of Eddings, saying many people had expressed "sadness and disappointment" about it and the nature in which it occurred.