LUNCHEON - 28TH JANUARY 2015
Speaker: Peter Young, Formerly General Manager Public Affairs at Cricket Australia
Topic: ‘Warnie and Me: Spinning for Australian Cricket.’
Chairperson: John Allen
Peter Young worked as a daily newspaper and business press journalist and editor before a mid-career switch to public affairs.
He was on call 24 x 7 for the last 25 years of his working life as media spokesperson, progressively, for Ansett, Medibank Private and, from 2002, for Cricket Australia, while working as head of public affairs for those organisations.
His extensive experience in media, issues, crisis and reputation management, change management and government relations taught him that communication is not what you say, it is what your audience hears; and also taught him that what you do rather than what you say is the single biggest influence on corporate, political and personal reputation - or brand.
As a manager, he believes recruiting and empowering the right people was the most important skill he developed.
And as a cricketer, his enthusiasm exceeded his ability by a significant margin.
He retired to work full time as a painter - of canvases, not houses - in 2014 but has agreed to make a short cameo come back helping Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council 2015 World Cup Local Organising Committee during the World Cup that starts 14 February.
That tournament, being played in Australia and New Zealand, will draw more than a million fans through the turnstiles and is expected to attract more than one billion TV viewers globally.
Synopsis Of The Lunch
For a decade Peter Young, the man in the bow-tie was Cricket Australia's main Public Relations man, explaining its position on some of the biggest issues in world cricket from Shane Warne's drugs ban in 2003 to the Monkeygate scandal in 2008. "I walked in to the job and it seemed within minutes that Shane Warne's mum gave him a diuretic," he elaborated.
"There have been many occasions where the pace has been so relentless that I've had two phones, one in each ear, briefing two journalists simultaneously, whilst trying to type with my elbows," Young said last week. In this "issues-rich" world, Young has walked the delicate line that divides his employer from the media while maintaining the trust of both. It's an increasingly rare skill. "It’s not as complicated as it looks ... Just do the right thing and explain it. Shane Warne possibly has done one of 500 things, just explain it."
Young's ubiquitous bow tie is accompanied by a distinguished, curled moustache and a beret, emblematic of his new life as an artist. Apart from being Australian cricket's "corporate conscience" on major issues, Young introduced the spirit of cricket code and championed the campaign to improve crowd behaviour but he believes his biggest contribution was his part in the awakening, only about a century overdue, that Australian cricket had to modernise to be relevant, especially to women. He spoke fondly of Shane Warne, his weaknesses and strengths mentioning in answer to a question that whilst Shane was versatile in his extra-curricular activities to the best of his knowledge Shane, unlike Keith Miller, had never spent a night at the personal invitation of a Princess at Buckingham Palace.