CRICKET Australia’s push for cultural change took on new meaning on Wednesday morning, when executive Ben Amarfio was escorted from the organisation’s headquarters in Melbourne.
Pat Howard and Amarfio, two of the most polarising and powerful figures at CA, were shown the door by chief executive Kevin Roberts.
Howard, who had already flagged his intention to depart the governing body after next year’s Ashes, accepted it was time to go and discussed the best way to handover to interim replacement Belinda Clark.
AAP understands the exit of Amarfio, CA’s general manager of broadcasting, digital media and commercial, was more messy.
Head of security Sean Carroll, a former Victorian police detective who oversees CA’s anti-corruption program and ensures players are safe while on tour around the world, was summoned to help evict Amarfio.
The scene unfolded in front of shocked staff.
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“I’d ask that we respect those people that have had a really challenging day … I don’t intend to go into intimate detail,” Roberts said at Wednesday’s press conference.
CA’s digital arm, previously under Amarfio’s stewardship, will now form part of a ‘fan engagement’ department under former Big Bash League boss Anthony Everard.
Amarfio has long rubbed many CA staff the wrong way, with the most notable example being a request that his secretary cook and serve him a hot breakfast in his glass-encased office.
Two of Australia’s best cricket journalists, Robert Craddock and Peter Lalor, join the Cricket Unfiltered Podcast to discuss the recent findings of the twin reviews into the culture of the Australian cricket team.
Amarfio joined the organisation in 2012 and oversaw this year’s broadcast-rights negotiations which resulted in a record $1.2 billion deal but also frustrated fans, as the men’s ODIs and Twenty20s were shifted off free to air.
CA adopted a combative approach to TV talks that often became heated, as reflected by a leaked email from former chairman David Peever to Channel Ten’s American owners CBS.
“The tactics (from Ten) are appalling on a number of levels … they are not prepared to challenge their operating model to be anything other than bottom feeders in this market,” Peever wrote.
There were reports in 2016 that Amarfio moonlighted as an agent for commentator and former Triple M colleague James Brayshaw, pitching his services to broadcasters.
Much of The Ethics Centre’s report focused on Australia’s men’s team but it also highlighted a corporate culture that “privileges combativeness over collaboration”, noting “a lack of emotional maturity … is also seen among CA staff”.
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