Scott Creelman has resigned as Spalding’s president of international licensing and world-wide relations.
Creelman, 57, had overseen Spalding’s golf division as executive vice-president and general manager until last February.
Reflecting on his 26 years with the company, he said: “We bought eight different companies, had three different owners, helped introduce the National Basketball Association around the world, set up a great tour programme and opened stores in China and Latin America.
“I was close to Payne Stewart and also to Robert Fraley and Van Ardan (who were both killed in the plane crash along with US Open champion Stewart on October 25). When something like that happens to friends of yours, it makes you realise your own mortality like never before. The more I thought about it, the more leaving seemed like a good thing to do.”