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By Venu Palaparthi
Darren Beazley, Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), announced his resignation earlier today.
Beazley completed a year in the job just last month. Many in the cricket community felt that he brought much needed credibility to USACA, an organization that appears to go from one crisis to the next with seemingly effortless ease.
After banishing two-thirds of the voting leagues, USACA had fewer than a dozen fully paid league members when Beazley was hired. The organization also had a deficiency in net assets of $3.02 Million at the start of Beazley's term.
Beazley did his best not to make a bad situation worse. He focused on improving communications and presented a strategic development plan for 2014-2016.
A new membership plan was rolled out earlier this year, giving USACA a sliver of a chance to reattract some of the same USACA member leagues that it had expelled. With his departure, it is unlikely that this new plan will succeed.
Also largely due to Beazley's efforts, relations with ICC were on the right trajectory despite USACA's lethargic efforts to act on the governance recommendations made by TSE Consulting.
Beazley also worked hard to revive the USACA national championship, a tournament that had not been held since 2011. Incidentally, a website announcing the championship was launched recently. The website (indycricket.us) is a quality effort, an adjective that can rarely be applied to a USACA initiative, regardless of whether USACA had anything to do with it.
Despite these initiatives, many in the cricket community felt Beazley was set up to fail given the continuing ill will for USACA following the last election and the organization's precarious financial situation. Many thought that it would be a matter of time before the board went back to its regressive ways leaving him with no option but to resign. Leading USACA is often compared to driving a car with just a foot on the accelerator pedal. The USACA board controls the steering wheel and there is never any gas in the tank.
One administrator said he was surprised that Beazley lasted as long as he did, recalling that other CEOs under Gladstone Dainty's leadership had lasted less than a year. Nabeel Ahmed, who was named acting CEO in April 2012 served less than a year. Keith Wyness stepped down as CEO of Cricket Holdings America after just seven months in the job (Gladstone Dainty is the Chairman of that organization). Don Lockerbie's 18 month stint between April 2009 and November 2010 makes him USACA's longest serving CEO.
USACA sought to put a positive spin on Beazley's departure in its press release calling it a 'leadership change,' noting that it will immediately start the search process for a new CEO.
Thanking Beazley for his contributions to cricket, the USACA president said: "Darren has helped us build a solid base on a number of fronts and we will be eternally grateful for the skills and energy he constantly applied to the sport and the community in the US."
For his part, Beazley said: “Leaving USACA and US cricket was not an easy decision given all we have achieved and where the organization is clearly heading with the development in funding for women’s and youth cricket and an arrangement for a home for the national tournament in Indianapolis with the $6M investment in the stadium and TV broadcasting of the games with ESPN.”
“I wish all involved with US cricket the very best for the future and look forward to watching the progress of the sport in the coming years at all levels”, he said.
Beazley will start as the CEO of Swimming Western Australia in May.