The DP World Tour has been plunged into yet further crisis following the shock announcement that Keith Pelley, the European Tour group’s CEO, is to stand down at the end of March.
The 60-year-old Canadian’s surprise move comes as the DP World Tour remains in negotiations with the PGA Tour to form an alliance with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which bankrolls LIV Golf.
Pelley is to be replaced by his deputy, Guy Kinnings, who will step up to the chief executive’s role on April 2.
Pelley, who became only the fourth Chief Executive since the European Tour’s formation in 1972 when he joined in 2015, is to move back to his native Toronto, where he will join Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd as president and CEO. MLSE, whose brands include the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League) and Toronto FC (MLS), as well as the Scotiabank Arena, regarded as one of the top sports and entertainment venues in the world.
WHAT PELLEY HAD TO SAY
Pelley said: “It has been an incredible honour to be the Chief Executive of this wonderful institution for the past eight and a half years. When I came over from Canada back in 2015, I set out to create a culture of innovation and to grow our prize funds and our Tour for our members by ensuring that we appealed to new, younger and more diverse audiences. We have done that and so much more because our players, staff, partners, broadcasters and fans have all fundamentally bought into that philosophy that we are in the entertainment industry. I would therefore like to thank everyone for their support and commitment to innovation and evolution in our sport.”
Guy Kinnings joined the European Tour group in 2018 and alongside his position of Deputy Chief Executive Officer, he is also the group’s Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Director – Ryder Cup. In that latter role, he oversaw the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome – the most successful ever to be staged in Europe. He also has a wealth of experience in a large number of capacities across all aspects of golf, including in his previous role as Global Head of IMG’s Golf Division.
LOOKING TO BUILD THE DP WORLD TOUR
Kinnings said: “It has been a privilege to work closely with Keith since I joined the Tour in 2018. He set out to transform the European Tour group, and unquestionably he has done that. It will be a huge honour to take on this role in April and I am immensely proud to have been given this responsibility. I will continue to work closely with Keith, Eric and the Board over the next three months to ensure a seamless transition. I look forward to working with our players, staff and partners in the game, as well as our very impressive Executive Leadership and Senior Management Teams, to continue to build upon everything our Tour has achieved in recent years.”
The surprise move comes just 24 hours after R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers’ announcement that he was stepping down from his position after a similar length tenure at the end of the year.