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James Sutherland Named Golf Australia CEO

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olf Australia has named former Cricket Australia CEO, James Sutherland, as its new chief executive officer after Stephen Pitt resigned in February after 11 years.

Golf Australia chairman, Andrew Newbold, said it was “exciting” to have Sutherland appointed as the new CEO, as his experience being CEO of Cricket Australia for 17 years will translate to Golf Australia.

“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 [former] 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,” he said.

Sutherland said he is excited to take on the challenge of growing golf for new audiences.

“When we talk about inclusiveness, we are not just talking about a sport of men and women, boys and girls,” Sutherland said.

“We are talking about being a sport for people of all different backgrounds, creating opportunities for people to learn the game, to enjoy the game and, ultimately, to love the game.

“I have a really clear view that the most important thing that sport’s administrators do is create an environment where kids can come to their sport and enjoy it and play it.

“It’s a really, really fundamental part of the role and I think it’s often overlooked.

“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.

“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,” he said.

During his 17 years at Cricket Australia, Sutherland guided and oversaw a tenfold increase in revenue, a 500% lift in corporate sponsorship, and a 250% spike in participation, including a tenfold boost in the female game and development of a gender pay equity plan.

Since his departure from Cricket Australia, Sutherland has held many advisory roles, most recently working as the chairman of the Live Entertainment Industry Forum, aiming to guide sports and entertainment businesses around Australia through the COVID-19 pandemic.