Lewis Hopes KPMG's "Maternity Leave" Becomes Norm For Sponsors
LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis hopes sponsor KPMG's decision to pay her the "full value of her contract despite the fact she's going on maternity leave next month ... will set a precedent" throughout the industry, according to Nancy Armour of USA TODAY. Most sponsorship contracts "require a player to play a certain number of events, and adjust pay accordingly if she doesn't." However, KPMG Chair & CEO Lynne Doughtie informed Lewis shortly after she announced she was pregnant that the company already had decided the "full value of the contract would be honored, regardless of how many events Lewis played." Doughtie considered Lewis "no different from any other KPMG employee on maternity leave." Lewis said, "A lot of people were shocked to learn that that had never happened before." She said her goal in discussing KPMG's move was to bring more attention to the issue. Lewis: "That's why I put it out there. I didn't necessarily want to put it out there, but the more I thought about it, I was like, this could bring about some change, and we need to get it out there." Lewis noted that some of her other sponsors "have followed KPMG's lead," though she did not identify them (USA TODAY, 6/28). Lewis said that she hopes KPMG's move "becomes the contract norm for players on maternity leave." Lewis: "There are a lot of women on this tour that basically have to say, 'I'm willing to give up all of my income this year to have a baby,' and that's a hard decision to make for a lot of people" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 6/27). In Chicago, Shannon Ryan writes Lewis and KPMG are "setting a good example," which should "set a new standard for female athletes" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/28).
PLAYING A KEY ROLE: ESPNW.com's Lisa Mickey noted Lewis has "morphed into a savvy professional athlete who has effectively expanded the paradigms of corporate CEOs." Lewis first signed with KMPG in '12, three years after the company jumped into golf by endorsing Phil Mickelson, and it was Lewis who "discussed the possibility of creating a major championship under its umbrella, of bringing more women athletes on board as player ambassadors." KPMG Exec Dir of Sports Marketing & Sponsorships Shawn Quill said of Lewis, "She was the first female athlete KPMG ever signed and since then, it started us on a path to support women's golf." Mickey noted KPMG in '15 helped launch the Women's PGA Championship along with the PGA of America "with Lewis' encouragement." It now "sponsors nine golfers," including six women -- Lewis, Mariah Stackhouse, Klara Spilkova, Olafia Kristinsdottir and twins Leona and Lisa Maguire (ESPNW.com, 6/27).