The European Tour has announced that George O‘Grady has accepted an invitation from the Board of Directors and the Tournament Committee to succeed Ken Schofield CBE as Executive Director.
Schofield, who was appointed on 1st January 1975, confirmed his decision to step aside at a joint meeting of the PGA European Tour Board of Directors and the Tournament Committee held at Wentworth on 11th December. The Board and the Tournament Committee unanimously agreed to invite O‘Grady to succeed Schofield, effective as of the end of 2004, and O‘Grady has accepted the position.
In 1975 – Schofield’s first year as Executive Director – the European Tour comprised of 17 official events with official prize money of £427,917 (€599,084). In 2003 the European Tour consisted of 45 Volvo Order of Merit Events and 48 events in all with official prize money of £71,338,871 (€102,320,629) and total prize money of £77,866,391 (€111,682,986). In 2003 total prize money of the European Tour, European Seniors Tour and European Challenge Tour amounted to £85,339,009 (€122,400,129).
Schofield said: “To stand aside is always difficult but 30 years is a long time, indeed a rare privilege, and to go beyond would be selfish particularly as, together with George O‘Grady, we have seen a huge interest develop in the game and the Tour. The Tour today is stable and will continue to progress and can be in no better hands than with George leading a talented management team.”
George O‘Grady said, “Ken has been a unique leader of the European Tour for approaching 30 years, and in that time we have formed a formidable partnership and relationship. To receive the universal backing of all on the Tournament Committee and the Board of Directors at the joint meeting to succeed him was both important and invigorating.”
O‘Grady, aged 54, was born in Singapore and educated at King’s School, Bruton, in Somerset, and at Reading University where he captained the rugby team. After working in marketing with Esso Petroleum and then in stockbroking, he joined the European Tour as a Tournament Director in 1974. He was Chief Referee at The Ryder Cup in 1977 at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s and the Staging Manager for the 1981 Ryder Cup at Walton Heath.
As Managing Director, O‘Grady launched Tour Enterprises on 1st January 1985, and he became Deputy Executive Director of The Tour in 1989. More recently as Joint Managing Director of European Tour Productions, O‘Grady has played a significant and influential role in the growth and the development of the Tour’s television company.
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