Lawn Tennis Association CEO Roger Draper Stands Down, Saying 'Now Is The Right Time'
Lawn Tennis Association CEO Roger Draper "is to stand down" in September at the time when those closest to him say the sport is "on the cusp of a golden era," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. Having been appointed seven years ago "with the remit to change the face of the game in Britain," the timing of his resignation "is extraordinary." The LTA said Draper's decision to step down comes "after one of the most outstanding years in the history of British tennis, both on and off court." This was "a shattering blow to Draper’s ego," just as it was announced that he had received a bonus of £200,000 ($298,000). The LTA is now looking for a CEO who can "bring back together all the strands cut away in the Draper era and improve the sport’s fractured reputation" (LONDON TIMES, 3/13). In London, Simon Briggs reported Draper has "lost his lucrative job" after his performance and salary were "criticised in Parliament." Draper, who earned £640,000 in '12, was "left vulnerable after tennis had its funding cut by Sport England." British politician Baroness Billingham, who has campaigned for change at the LTA for several years, said earlier last year "the LTA is one of the wealthiest sporting organisations in the country and it’s my honest and genuine opinion that they are useless" (TELEGRAPH, 3/13).
DRAPER'S SUCCESS: The BBC reported Draper "can point to an increase of 18% in the number of adults playing tennis each week in England during his time in charge" and to the fact Aaron Murray won the U.S. Open, an Olympic Gold, plus a Silver Medal in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson in '12. Draper also introduced a blueprint for British tennis that "led to the creation of new talent identification and performance programmes." He also "implemented plans that saw commercial revenue rise" from £1.75M in '06 to £9M last year (BBC, 3/13).
THE RIGHT TIME: The PA reported Draper "has faced calls for his resignation from critics inside and outside the sport." However, the LTA was "keen to stress the decision was taken solely by the chief executive, who feels it is the right time to stand down." Draper said, "The sport is entering a very exciting phase, and now is the right time for me to hand over the baton to a new leader who can build on what has been achieved in recent years and take British tennis to new levels" (PA, 3/13).