James Sutherland has been gifted an open-ended tenure as Cricket Australia's CEO as a result of what the board chairman Wally Edwards called the "outstanding job" he had done for Australian cricket.

Sutherland has spent 13 years as CEO and his current contract was due to expire after next year's World Cup. However, he will now move from contracts to what Edwards described as "an ongoing employment arrangement", effectively meaning that he will likely occupy the position for the foreseeable future.

"The change recognises the outstanding job James is doing leading Australian cricket," Edwards said. "The game's comprehensive strategic plan is on track and the outcomes from our team performance, governance and national financial model reviews are starting to take hold.

"As a board, we want James to continue his work leading Australian cricket, with the aim to be the number one sport for viewership, fan passion, participation, team success and to be a completely unified national sport. The game is currently in a strong position and is well placed to realise its potential.

"The numbers speak for themselves with grassroots participation, attendances, television and digital audiences at all-time highs. Further to that, Australian sides are either sitting at, or challenging, for the world's number one ranking."

The importance of the CEO role within Cricket Australia could be considered greater than in some other cricketing nations, given that the position of board chairman involves a maximum term of four years. There is also no clear successor to Sutherland within CA, with senior figures such as Michael Brown, Andrew Jones, Geoff Allardice and Dean Kino having left the organisation in recent years.

Sutherland joined what was then the Australian Cricket Board in 1998 as general manager of commercial, and was promoted to CEO in 2001 when Malcolm Speed departed. His tenure has coincided with a period of financial success for Cricket Australia, including the establishment of the Big Bash League and a $500 million domestic TV rights deal.

He has also helped to usher in sweeping governance change, with the board's federal model of 14 state representatives replaced in 2012 by a tighter nine-person collective of directors free of formal ties to their states. The changed governance model became a possibility over a week of frank discussions at the Australian Cricket Conference in 2010, its progressive program of panel talks and speakers approved by Sutherland.

However there has also been criticism of Sutherland's role at times. Last year, former captain Ricky Ponting said he believed Cricket Australia had become complacent under Sutherland as the team slipped from the world's best to the middle of the ICC rankings. He described what he considered a lack of foresight under Sutherland, and said that many of the changes brought about by the Argus review had been suggested years before by himself and then coach John Buchanan.

Questions were raised last year over how the situation within the national team had been allowed to deteriorate to the level where Sutherland and general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, felt the need to sack the coach Mickey Arthur on the eve of an Ashes series.

But while Sutherland has presided over a period in which Australia's on-field results have been mixed, the board has been impressed with the off-field numbers. He is among Australia's best-paid sporting executives. Edwards, who will be replaced as chairman by the former Rio Tinto mining director David Peever next year, said that participation and revenue had both risen significantly.

"Throughout James' tenure annual participation has grown from 436,000 Australians playing the game to more than 1.1 million while revenue has leaped from $56.5m to a forecast of more than $300m," Edwards said.

"Furthermore, the overall financial strength of cricket as a not-for-profit, community-based game that faces the challenging need to reinvest more in the game's future cannot be underestimated. It is allowing us to pay record dividends to our members and to reward international, state and BBL players appropriately for the commercial value they bring to the sport."

Sutherland said: "I'm very grateful to the board for the confidence and faith it has showed in me to continue as CEO beyond next year ... It is a huge honour to lead the game and I'm as passionate as I have ever been to deliver on our strategy of making cricket Australia's favourite sport."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale