After almost nine years in the role, Keith Pelley will step down as CEO of the European tour at the end of March. Guy Kinnings, current deputy CEO and executive director, will take over for Pelley starting on April 2.
Pelley is only the fourth CEO since the formation of the European tour in 1972. He took the job in 2015, leaving his position as president of Rogers Media. His philosophy of “transforming global golf” led the European Tour to undertake new strategies and innovate with new formats and technologies, becoming industry leaders in the process by broadening its appeal to new and existing members.
Under Pelley’s purview, the European tour group introduced the Rolex Series, DP World’s title partnership of the group’s main Tour, the G4D Tour for Golfers with a Disability, mixed events with the LET and LPGA, and staged two successful Ryder Cups on European soil. He also guided the Tour through the global COVID-19 pandemic, negotiated the full acquisition of European Tour Productions from IMG, and formed strategic alliances with the PGA TOUR, the Sunshine Tour and the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia. In an ongoing effort to make global golf more aligned, he also helped establish pathways for other tours onto the DP World Tour.
“It has been an incredible honor 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.”
Pelley will return to his native Toronto and will become president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. MLS’s brands include the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL, the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League and MLS team Toronto FC, as well as Scotiabank Arena.
Pelley has been a longtime fixture on Golf Inc.’s Most Powerful list, placing No. 14 in 2022 and No. 19 in 2023.
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