The Board of the PGA European Tour has announced the appointment of Keith Pelley as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective this summer. This follows the announcement in November 2014 that George O’Grady would be stepping down from the role.
Keith has enjoyed an extensive and highly successful career in the worlds of sport and media. He is currently President of Rogers Media, a media conglomerate in Canada, with responsibility for all lines of the media business, including 51 radio stations, 56 publications, 12 national TV stations plus 42 local stations, 300 digital properties as well as the Toronto Blue Jays, Canada’s only Major League Baseball team.
While at Rogers, Keith helped orchestrate the largest sports rights deal in Canadian history, the first of its kind worldwide, with the acquisition of a $5.2 billion National Hockey League rights deal for 12 years to include all media platforms.
“Keith has done a tremendous job for the company over the past five years and I’m delighted for him and his family,” said Guy Laurence, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers. “He’s been a key player on the NHL file and has done a terrific job of reinventing the way Canadians experience the NHL. Under his leadership, Sportsnet is on the cusp of becoming the number one sports media brand in Canada.”
Prior to this, Keith was President of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium where he created and led the media consortium for all broadcast rights holders for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, with responsibility for all production, programming, marketing, sales and sponsorship in the run up to and during the Games. Earlier in his career he was CEO of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, during which the team won the championship title in his first year of leadership.
Keith has a deep understanding of the professional athlete, having worked with them for over 30 years across several major sports including the National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and the Canadian Football League.
This, combined with his extensive experience in rights management and negotiations; sponsorship creation; television production; marketing; communications; brand development and event management, made Keith the unanimous choice of the Board’s Nominations Committee.
David Williams, Chairman of The European Tour commented: “I am delighted to welcome Keith Pelley to The European Tour as our new Chief Executive. Keith’s proven track record, extensive experience and outstanding leadership skills in both sport and media will be invaluable as we continue to further develop our strategy.
“Throughout the interview process, it was clear that Keith has an unwavering passion for golf as well as a strong grasp of the challenges and opportunities facing not only The European Tour, but the wider game of golf as a whole. He knows the game, respects its history and I have no doubt he will bring an innovative approach to the development of The European Tour on the global stage.
“On behalf of the Board I would again like to thank George O’Grady for his extraordinary contribution to The European Tour and professional golf over the last 40 years and we are delighted that he will undertake the role of President of International Relations, ensuring The European Tour will continue to benefit from his knowledge and experience.”
Keith Pelley said: “I am very honoured to be joining The European Tour as its new CEO at an exciting stage in its development. The Tour already has a highly regarded reputation and I look forward to building on this using my previous experience in both media and sports to ensure it remains at forefront of the game across the globe.
“Throughout my career in North America, it has been a privilege to work with the best sports organisations, athletes, and media assets. I am excited to build on these experiences on the international stage.”
George O’Grady, who will continue in the role of Chief Executive until Keith takes office officially, said: “I look forward to welcoming Keith to The European Tour and ensuring a smooth transition as I continue to develop my new role. I am certain that Keith will bring a fresh and business-focused perspective to the Tour.”
Thomas Bjørn, Chairman of The European Tour’s Tournament Committee said: “On behalf of all the players on The European Tour, I am delighted to welcome Keith Pelley as our new Chief Executive. Having spoken to him at length, I know the passion and commitment he will bring to the role as the Tour moves forward. You only need to look at what he has achieved in sports and business to date to see that his record speaks for itself.
“I would also like to place on record how impressed I have been with the process put in place by the Board of The European Tour to select our new Chief Executive. The Nominations Committee, led by chair David Jones, and consisting of David Williams, Damon Buffini, Chris Hanell and Robert Lee, handled the process in a professional and exemplary fashion and shows precisely the trust the players have in the Board.”
Keith Pelley – Biography
Keith Pelley was appointed President, Rogers Media in 2010 and is responsible for leading the overall operations of the company’s diverse portfolio, including Television, Radio, Publishing, Digital Media, The Shopping Channel, subscription-based content services, Toronto Blue Jays, and Rogers Centre. Under Pelley’s leadership, Rogers Media operates as a fully integrated media company, delivering world-class content and leveraging synergies and opportunities across all lines of business.
A passionate sports advocate, Pelley has 30 years of experience in the sports and media industries. Prior to joining Rogers Media, Pelley was Executive Vice-President of Strategic Planning at CTVglobemedia and President of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, where he led Rogers’s and CTV’s unprecedented coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Under Pelley’s vision and guidance, the Consortium delivered the Top 5 most-watched events in Canadian television history, with 99 per cent of the Canadian population experiencing the Games through one of the Consortium’s media platforms. The Consortium won a record seven Gemini Awards for its cross-platform coverage of Vancouver 2010, including Best Live Sporting Event.
Pelley was President and CEO of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club (2003 to 2007), where under his leadership, the club rose in popularity with average home-game attendance more than tripling in just four years. In his first full year with the club, Pelley helped guide the Argos to the 2004 Grey Cup title.
Pelley began his career in 1984 as an on-air personality at OMNI Television, which is now part of the Rogers Media suite of assets. He joined TSN in 1986, where he worked for 16 years in various roles of increasing responsibility. Pelley began as an Editorial Assistant in the newsroom and worked his way up to Senior News Producer and Event Producer for CFL, curling, tennis and baseball. In 1994, Pelley left TSN for FOX, where he worked as a game producer for NFL, NFL Europe, NHL, and MLB. He returned to TSN in 1997 as Senior Vice-President of Programming & Production and was appointed President in 2001, where he remained until 2003 before joining the Argonauts.
Pelley devotes much of his time to numerous charitable organizations, including Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation and serves on the Board of Jays Care Foundation. He has received a number of industry awards and recognition, including twice named Media Player of the Year (2012, 2011), Ryerson Alumni Achievement Award (2011), member of the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame (2011) and Special Olympics Ontario Sponsors Hall of Fame (2007), and Miles Nadal JCC Sportsman of the Year (2006).
Pelley is a graduate of Ryerson University with a B.A. in Radio and Television Arts, and also received an ATCL diploma from Trinity College in London, England.
Age 51; married to Joan with two children. Member of Lambton Golf and Country Club, and Goodwood Golf Club in Canada Handicap: 5 (Index 4.1)
European Tour www.europeantour.com
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