Either the ICC should review the job description of the CEO or not have one, writes Makarand Waingankar

The sacking of Malcolm Speed much before his contract with the ICC expired makes one wonder whether sports bodies really want a CEO.

The experience of 33 CEOs of some of the world’s top companies narrated in the book, Straight From The CEO, indicates the role CEOs play in conceiving and implementing corporate policies, but for that to happen the corporates need to back their CEOs and not expect the person to toe the line which would drag him into corporate politics.


The difference between CEOs of corporate and sports bodies is that the CEO of the corporate is mainly dealing with professionals well versed with the business environment, whereas CEOs in sports like Malcolm Speed are dealing with elected members not accountable for the welfare of the sporting institution.

It is not necessary that the policies implemented by the CEO of the sporting institution have his concurrence, but then he has to obey the changes approved by the body of the elected members who take upon themselves the responsibility of running the game without knowing the intricacies involved in the implementation of the programmes.

Malcolm Speed with his experience in the field of sports and law did what was expected of him, but his views on the Zimbabwe matter seem to have forced the ICC to send him on paid leave.

Blatant show

The Zimbabwe issue is a blatant show of backing a board which was accused of siphoning the ICC’s funds, an accusation then proved by the KPMG, auditor of the ICC.

In a scenario such as this the best thing would have been for Speed to quit under protest rather than express his views on the Zimbabwe affair.

Ever since the BCCI began to call the shots in the ICC, the representatives of England and Australia who enjoyed the freedom of exercising veto power for decades without having to face criticism felt that policies were being sidetracked by the sub-continent block backed by the South African board.

Speed, to a large extent, was getting involved with the policies which had the undercurrent and it was evident in the Harbhajan Singh case.

Speed in certain cases may have exceeded his brief and when that suited the ICC, he was encouraged to express his views, which at times were damaging the cricketing environment.

In the case of Zimbabwe, Speed’s comments exposed the working of the ICC and that was not tolerated.

He must have been cautioned earlier as it’s difficult to believe that he is sacked without a caution.

His dismissal will put the new CEO under pressure and he may go to the other extreme. The ICC would want the new CEO Lorgat to be a glorified office superintendent. Either the ICC should review the job description of the CEO or not have one.

It’s a post that is the face of the ICC and not the Chairman. Sadly, the Chairman would want to be the face of the ICC and if that is encouraged the working and cricketing environment of ICC would change.

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