Lawn Tennis Association Names Canadian Michael Downey Its New CEO
Canadian Michael Downey "has been appointed" to the role of CEO of the Lawn Tennis Association, according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. Downey will officially take up his £300,000 ($480,000)-a-year post in January, but his unveiling on Monday -- a "unanimous choice of the five-person selection committee -- heralded the first time that someone outside Britain was given the task of re-shaping the LTA, and driving home the changes in attitude and approach so desperately required." Downey replaces Roger Draper, whose seven-year period of office "was marked by divisions and rancour in the sport" which were not helped when it was revealed earlier this year that he had received a salary of £400,000 ($640,000) plus bonuses (LONDON TIMES, 9/24). The PA's Matt McGeehan reported Downey "inherits one of the toughest jobs in British sport" after years of criticism over the organization's failure to make the most of its annual multi-million pound Wimbledon subsidy. Downey "will begin his role" on Jan. 6. During the interim period, LTA CEO Nick Humby will lead the executive. Some questions will be asked about the non-British appointment, but LTA Chair David Gregson described Downey as "the outstanding candidate for the role." Gregson: "We set out to recruit a CEO with true success in business, with exceptional leadership credentials and ideally with significant knowledge of tennis. Michael demonstrably fits the bill perfectly and was the unanimous choice of our recruitment panel" (PA, 9/24). The BBC wrote Downey was a senior exec at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, owners of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA Toronto Raptors, "before taking over at Tennis Canada." Downey: "I really do believe this is a great organization but great organizations can get better and need to continually get better by looking at themselves and also being open to criticism from the outside" (BBC, 9/24).