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Volume 7 No. 149

People and Pop Culture

Nick Franklin's previous experience includes 18 years with Disney.
Photo: world surf league

The World Surf League appointed Nick Franklin as president of the Kelly Slater Wave Company. WSL Holdings acquired the KSWC in ’16 and the bodies jointly operate Surf Ranch, which is located in Lemoore, Calif., and features a man-made wave system. Franklin will be tasked with driving the growth and development of the business globally, pursuing strategic and operational integration with the WSL and leading continued innovation of the product.

Franklin previously spent 18 years with Disney, where he ultimately served as EVP of next generation experience and led the transformation of the guest experience at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

"Nick is a visionary leader and we're very fortunate to have him join the organization," WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said. "It's a time of unprecedented opportunity for the company with so many exciting aspects to develop, so Nick’s incredible experience, stellar reputation and proven track record will make him vital to the successful future of KSWC and the WSL."

Franklin joins ahead of Surf Ranch hosting its first WSL Championship Tour event, the Surf Ranch Pro, from Sept. 6-9. He said, "With the wave technology, Surf Ranch in Lemoore and the connection to the WSL, we have an incredible platform to engage with passionate surfers and also connect with those new to the sport to expand the business."

Terms of Franklin’s contract were not disclosed.

The World Surf League appointed NICK FRANKLIN as president of the KELLY SLATER Wave Company. WSL Holdings acquired the KSWC in ’16 and the bodies jointly operate Surf Ranch, which is located in Lemoore, Calif., and features a man-made wave system. Franklin will be tasked with driving the growth and development of the business globally, pursuing strategic and operational integration with the WSL and leading continued innovation of the product (Travis Ostrander, SBD Global). ... League Championship side Queens Park Rangers appointed British-Indian businessman AMIT BHATIA as chair, with co-Chairs TONY FERNANDES and RUBEN GNANALINGAM vacating their positions. Bhatia, who previously served as vice-chair, will work alongside the management team led by CEO LEE HOOS (REUTERS, 8/15).

COACHES/MANAGERS: Former New Zealand cricketer GARY STEAD was named the team's new head coach, signing a two-year contract. Stead, 46, replaces MIKE HESSON, who resigned in June after six years in charge. Stead will begin his role in September (BBC, 8/15). ... National Rugby League side Manly Sea Eagles coach TRENT BARRETT quit "following another poor season." Barrett resigned and will "finish up at the end of the season." It is the "latest movement in the code's coaching merry-go-round," with Barrett now "in the box seat" to replace Penrith Panthers coach ANTHONY GRIFFIN (AAP, 8/15).

French heavyweight boxer TONY YOKA's appeal against a one-year ban for doping violations was rejected on Tuesday, "denting his hopes of winning a world title." He was handed a 12-month suspension last month by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) for "failing three times to provide necessary information on his whereabouts" for out-of-competition drug tests (AFP, 8/14). ... Brazil World Cup winner RONALDO was discharged from a hospital in Ibiza after suffering from pneumonia. The 41-year-old said that he returned home on Tuesday (BBC, 8/14). ... Former French Rugby Federation (FFR) President PIERRRE CAMOU died Wednesday, aged 72. Camou served as FFR president from '08-16. In '11, he launched the campaign for France to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup (L’ÉQUIPE, 8/15). ... Argentina's "disastrous" World Cup forced LIONEL MESSI into a "rethink" and he reportedly decided he will not play for his country again in '18. With LIONEL SCALONI in caretaker charge, it remains to be seen who will be the next permanent Argentina coach and now it "remains to be seen when or if Messi will be back" (MARCA, 8/14). ... WANDA NARA, the wife of Inter Milan striker MAURO ICARDI, said that she is willing to criticize her husband "after taking on a punditry role for Mediaset." Nara will appear on the football show Tiki Taka, which airs every Monday on Italia 1 (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 8/15).