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Keith Pelley to step down as DP World Tour chief executive

After eight and a half years as the circuit’s chief executive, Keith Pelley will step aside from the DP World Tour in 2024 and return to Canada…

 

Keith Pelley will step down as DP World Tour chief executive at the start of April.

Pelley will return to Canada to become President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd in Toronto.

Guy Kinnings, the current deputy chief executive and Ryder Cup director, will take the reins on April 2 as the formerly-named European Tour works towards a deal with the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund.

Pelley was the fourth chief executive since the tour’s formation in 1972. He first took up the role on August 3 2015, having previously been President of Rogers Media.

“It has been an incredible honour to be the Chief Executive of this wonderful institution for the past eight and a half years,” Pelley said.

“When I came over from Canada back in 2015, I set out to create a culture of innovation and to grow our prize funds and our Tour for our members by ensuring that we appealed to new, younger and more diverse audiences.

“We have done that and so much more because our players, staff, partners, broadcasters and fans have all fundamentally bought into that philosophy that we are in the entertainment industry.

“I would therefore like to thank everyone for their support and commitment to innovation and evolution in our sport.

“This role with MLSE, and the chance to be involved with my hometown sports teams in Toronto, was the one opportunity that I simply could not resist.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do at some point in my career and I’m very grateful to be given that chance.

“Similarly, I’m eternally grateful for the incredible experiences my family and I have had with the Tour over the last eight and a half years.

“I am also fortunate to be able to pass the baton on to someone immensely experienced and respected in Guy who I have no doubt will ensure the Tour continues to prosper for many years to come.”

Strategic alliances, Covid-19 and the Ryder Cup: Key parts of the Pelley era…

The news of Pelley stepping down comes just a day after Martin Slumbers announced he would leave his post as R&A chief executive by the end of 2024.

With the 60-year-old at the helm, the European Tour group introduced the Rolex Series, DP World’s title partnership, the G4D Tour for Golfers with a Disability and helped to stage two home Ryder Cups in Paris and Rome.

Pelley guided the circuit through the COVID-19 pandemic and formed a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, as well as with the Sunshine Tour and the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia.

Kinnings, who first joined the European Tour group in 2018, will look to harness his experience also as chief commercial officer, and previously the Global Head of IMG’s Golf Division, to steer the tour’s future.

“It has been a privilege to work closely with Keith since I joined the Tour in 2018. He set out to transform the European Tour group, and unquestionably he has done that,” he said.

“It will be a huge honour to take on this role in April and I am immensely proud to have been given this responsibility. I will continue to work closely with Keith, Eric and the Board over the next three months to ensure a seamless transition.

“I look forward to working with our players, staff and partners in the game, as well as our very impressive Executive Leadership and Senior Management Teams, to continue to build upon everything our Tour has achieved in recent years.”

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