Martin Slumbers, who succeeds previous Chief Executive Peter Dawson, begins his tenure as head of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews today.

Slumbers was designated to succeed Dawson in March 2015 and following his predecessor’s retirement on Friday, steps into the role today.

“I am delighted to take on the challenge of leading The R&A and serving such a historic club”, said Slumbers. “The organization has been left in excellent health by my predecessor, Peter Dawson, and I look forward to building on Peter’s success and working together with our committees and staff to ensure the R&A continues to play a leading role in golf’s global development”.

Dawson was Chief Executive of the R&A for 16 years and leaves big shoes to fill: in 2004 he oversaw the evolution of the R&A into a separate group of companies to run The Open with the Golf Club focusing on its governance role within the sport and catering for its more than 2,000 members.

“I am delighted to take on the challenge of leading The R&A and serving such a historic club”
Most memorably however, he oversaw the admittance of female members to the R&A in September last year, with names such as The Princess Royal, Dame Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam now honorary members of the R&A golf club.

“I was thrilled when I heard the R&A Golf Club would admit female members”, said Sorenstam. “To be selected as one of the first is a tremendous honour.”

In addition, Dawson’s tenure has seen golf become one of the most popular sports in the world with the R&A working with affiliated organizations in 138 countries. Golf is now also an Olympic sport for the first time since 1904 with Dawson playing a key role in securing its return at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Slumbers is 55 years old, was born in Brighton and studied Production Engineering and Economics at the University of Birmingham. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he embarked on a long career in investment banking.

Unsurprisingly, he is a keen golfer and plays to a handicap of 2 at Worplesdon Golf Club in Surrey.