‘On behalf of all women, I’m sorry,’ for not becoming Cricket Australia chair

a woman looking at the camera: Jacquie Hey was a strong contender to be chair of CA, but she did not want to give up all her other roles © Getty Images

© Getty Images
Jacquie Hey was a strong contender to be chair of CA, but she did not want to give up all her other roles © Getty Images

Jacquie Hey joined the Cricket Australia board on the same day as David Peever and Kevin Roberts in October 2012.

Eight years later, she is the only member of the trio leaving on her own terms, after Peever was deposed as chairman in the wake of the CA’s cultural review in 2018, and Roberts found himself compelled to resign as chief executive as a series of fractured relationships in the game caught up with him in the time of Covid-19.

By contrast, Hey is leaving CA with her reputation enhanced. But the rise of the women’s game on her watch ran parallel to a rise in Australian corporate circles that left her ultimately too busy to become the governing body’s first female chair. Instead, Hey is chair of Bendigo and Adelaide Banks and a director of Qantas, among other Australia Stock Exchange listed companies.

There will, then, always be an imponderable about how CA might have fared if Hey had assumed a greater position of leadership in the game instead of Peever or Roberts. Speaking on the occasion of her departure, she offers an explanation of competing priorities and instincts, with an apology on behalf of women in the game that she did not choose to take on the chair.

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“One part of me would’ve loved to be chair of CA, it would’ve been such a privilege, and it is a privilege for anyone who’s held that role, and particularly as a woman, one part of me desperately wanted to do it,” Hey told ESPNcricinfo. “The other, sensible side, said I’m an ASX director on three or four boards and I would’ve had to give them all up to do the job, because it’s a pretty full-on and full-time job.

“So it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be, it was just that I also wanted to do everything else I’m doing and it wouldn’t have all fit. So I did go through that, two parts of my brain saying yes do it, but no you have to give up everything else you love doing. So would I love to have done it? I would’ve. Was I prepared to give up everything else that I was doing to do it? No I wasn’t, and there were other really capable candidates to do it. So I felt like that was okay. But on behalf of all women, I’m sorry.”

When Hey joined the CA board, it was part of a sweeping reform that ended more than a century of representative governance by as many as 14 directors from CA’s six state association owners. Hey, Peever and Roberts were described as “captains of industry”, and from the top of the organisation she was able to help bring

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