George O’Grady has announced he will step down as chief executive of the European Tour as soon as his successor is found.
An announcement had originally been planned to coincide with the season-ending finale DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, but recent media speculation has hastened the process.
The 65-year-old became only the third chief executive in the European Tour’s history in 2005, succeeding John Jacobs, who supervised the Tour’s formative years from 1971 to 1974 and Ken Schofield, who took over the reins on January 1, 1975.
He has been with The European Tour for over 40 years and during this time he has been instrumental in its development, including the implementation of The Race To Dubai and The Final Series, overseeing the significant growth of The Ryder Cup, securing key TV and sponsorship agreements and helping the process which saw golf reinstated in the Olympic Games.
"I have agreed with the Board to stay not only for the time it takes to appoint a new CEO but also for sufficient additional time after that to see them properly settled in."
“It is my firm belief that, coming towards the end of what has been another incredibly successful season, we are now seeing the green shoots of recovery across Europe and I am pleased that this coincides with all our building blocks, in terms of key television and sponsorship contracts, being in place.
“I have agreed with the board to stay not only for the time it takes to appoint a new CEO but also for sufficient additional time after that to see them properly settled in. The board also agreed that, at that stage, I will take up a role as president of International Relations which will see me represent the European Tour through the Olympic Games in 2016.”
David Williams, chairman of the European Tour, commented: “On behalf of the board and all of the members of the European Tour I would like to thank George for his contribution to the European Tour and professional golf generally over the last 40 years.
“The European Tour and its players are admired throughout the world of golf and George has played a key part in building global relationships and developing the tour. He has always respected the traditions of the Tour and built on the strong foundations put in place by John Jacobs, Neil Coles and Ken Schofield.
“The tour is now embarking on a new phase in its development and that is why George has considered that it is the right time to ask the Nominations Committee to find his successor.”