Golf Australia has appointed former long-time Cricket Australia chief executive and “keen golfer” James Sutherland its new chief executive.
Sutherland, 55, will begin his role from 1 October after an exhaustive recruitment process had yielded several quality candidates for the position.
Golf Australia chairman Andrew Newbold said it was “exciting” for golf to have attracted a candidate with vast experience in sport, with Sutherland having been chief executive at Cricket Australia for 17 years.
“James has a resume that is long and distinguished and I’m delighted that golf will be able to tap into his vast knowledge and resources as we push into a new era,” Newbold said.
“He did so much in cricket at so many levels from playing to financial and corporate to stakeholder relations.
“But one of the things that stands out to me was when I saw the MCG filled with almost 100,000 people to watch the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup this year, then contemplated the switch and modernising of goals and attitudes to have achieved that objective. I see that as a tremendous achievement by James and his team.
“He knows what excellent and elite look like and I can’t wait for him to impart his vision on the broader golf industry.”
Sutherland, a former first-class cricketer with an accounting, coaching and management background, guided and oversaw a time of great change in Australian cricket, including a tenfold increase in revenue, a 500 per cent lift in corporate sponsorship and a 250 per cent spike in participation, including a tenfold boost in the female game and development of a gender pay equity plan.
He played a key role in the development of the BBL and WBBL, which reinvigorated cricket’s fan base and built new and valuable commercial assets for the sport.
Most recently, Sutherland has been working as chairman of the Live Entertainment Industry Forum as it seeks to find a path through the current pandemic for sports and entertainment businesses around the country.
“I’m genuinely excited to have the opportunity to work in golf, obviously for Golf Australia, but more importantly for the sport around the nation,” said Sutherland.
“These are challenging times for us all, but I know that Andrew and his board have positioned us well to cope now and thrive later.
“I’m really looking forward to advancing that work and helping unify, modernise and grow golf to be a sport that welcomes people of all backgrounds and grows to achieve its enormous potential.”