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Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 14:09 GMT
A man for all problems
Malcolm Speed
Malcolm Speed: The ICC's new man in charge
BBC Sport Online profiles the ICC's new chief executive Malcolm Speed.

Malcolm Speed, the ICC's new chief executive, was chosen following a worldwide search by a firm of international headhunters.

The firm cannot fail to have been impressed by the Australian's credentials, for Speed's cv covers just about every problem that could arise for any chief executive in any walk of life let alone cricket.

From corruption to bad language to sex to pay disputes to alcohol to media controversy to behavioural problems, Speed has had plenty to occupy his time during his four year tenure as chief executive of the Australian Cricket Board.

He has a terrific grasp of world cricket. I think he will be a good appointment
  Tony Dodemaide

He appears well qualified to guide cricket's governing body through what is almost certain to be one of the most difficult periods the sport has experienced.

Corruption is far and away the biggest issue Speed will have to deal with, but there are no shortage of other concerns.

"The corruption issue is still a major one for cricket," said Speed on his appointment.

"The ICC and Test playing countries have made a very good start but we need to finish that.

"There are also issues with umpiring and some issues with player behaviour."

Speed's time at the ACB has been well received - this appointment is due recognition of that.

He is credited with developing Australia's governing body into an efficient, well organised and modern set up. A sort of board room Steve Waugh.

Quick to act

His record hints at a similar hard-headed approach to that of his captain.

The 52-year-old's approach to the variety of problems he has faced has not always been greeted with universal approval, but he has never been slow to act.

One major controversy was the Mark Waugh/Shane Warne affair when it was disclosed that the pair had received money from bookmakers in return for information.

Speed was not at the ACB in 1994 when the board fined the players but opted not to make the revelations public.

Malcolm Speed
In the spotlight: Speed is used to media attention

Towards the end of 1998, allegations of supposed wrong doing by Australian players was attracting media attention and so the ACB went public to much national hand wringing.

Speed, by now chief executive, described the board's previous action as 'clearly inappropriate' and was in a position to distance himself from the initial handling of the affair.

His handling of a difficult problem was impressive, the only question is to whether his ACB would have made the affair public had the media not been on the verge of discovering it.

His subsequent strong dealings with Mark Waugh weigh very much in his favour.

Waugh, after agreeing to talk to Sir Paul Condon's corruption inquiry, appeared to be dallying over whether to do so.

Speed's response was to inform Waugh that he would be dropped from the national side if he did not co-operate.

International scale

It was a tough stance and one that fully backed the ICC.

Australian Cricketers' Association spokesman Tim May, the former Test player, accused the board of being 'disrespectful' to the player. But ECB chairman Lord MacLaurin praised Speed's reaction.

While the corruption scandal has rumbled on throughout his time in office, Speed has had plenty of other problems, or issues as the ACB prefer to call them, to keep him busy.

He had to deal with Ricky Ponting's well publicised drink incident, the Warne 'phone sex' furore, a players' pay settlement and several incidents of players being accused of throwing.

The manner in which he dealt with many of those won him admirers, as did his development of the ACB itself.

Malcolm Speed with Steve Waugh at Lord's after winning the World Cup
Speed and Waugh with the World Cup

"Under him the ACB has progressed into a very pro-active and professional organisation," said Tony Dodemaide, former Australian Test player now head of cricket at MCC.

"He dealt with a number of issues that demanded a quick response. He has a terrific grasp of world cricket. I think he will be a good appointment.

"The same principles he has applied to the ACB apply across the world game."

Speed was appointed chief executive at the ACB after a successful spell in a similar position with the Australian National Basketball League and Basketball Australia.

When younger he played lower grade club cricket, but it as an administrator that he has made his name.

Strong character

He will succeed Dave Richards, the first holder of the post, in July. The fact that he is replacing another Australian says much for the regard in which he is held.

Sir Paul Condon is scheduled to make his report on his investigation into corruption in April. Speed will have the after effects of that to deal with and it is an issue that is sure to dominate for sometime to come.

But Speed is acknowledged as a strong character and one who will not hesitate to take action or criticise where he sees fit.

After all this is the man who asked his national side to improve their behaviour at the beginning of last year.

"There is a commitment to presenting a more responsible face," he said at the time.

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See also:

20 Mar 01 |  Cricket
ICC comes up to Speed
15 Mar 01 |  Cricket
Umpire changes draw closer
24 Jan 01 |  Cricket
Waugh given ultimatum
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