After months of searching, the ATP finally settled on one of the their own appointing Brad Drewett as new Executive Chairman and President. Drewett, who succeeds the outgoing Adam Helfant, will begin his new duties on January 1, 2012.
The 53-year-old Drewett’s 3-year appointment was voted unanimously by the ATP Board this week. The Australian native currently serves as CEO of the ATP International Group, where he has overseen operations in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific regions since 1999. Prior to that, Drewett served as an elected member of the Player Council and an ATP Player Board Representative (1993-1999). He has also been Tournament Director of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and formerly the Tennis Masters Cup since 2001, and has been instrumental in the event’s tremendous success.
Drewett played 12 years on the ATP circuit reaching a career high on No. 34 in 1984.
“Brad is a very experienced executive and has been an effective leader within the ATP for many years,” said Roger Federer, President of the ATP Player Council. “He understands the global nature of the business as well as the complexities of dealing with all of the Tour’s stakeholders. I am confident that Brad’s work ethic and leadership will help contribute to the continued success of the ATP World Tour.”
Helfant, who shied from the public eye, was said to have made $1.4 in salary in 2009 and this year was in line to pocket $3 million. However, after successfully pulling in a few big time sponsors including Corona and Ricoh, Helfant couldn’t get a new deal done to his liking.
Since announcing the departure of Helfant in June, the ATP came up largely empty in finding a replacement. Former Wimbledon head Ian Ritchie was considered an early favorite but he declined opting to go to Rugby.
Still, the Tour hoped to appoint a new leader during the Barclays London last month. But with only the inexperienced Richard Krajicek, longtime ATP staffers Mark Young (ATP Americas CEO) and Drewett remaining as viable candidates the search continued until today’s announcement.
Krajicek, who some pegged including players as the top choice and favorite, withdrew his candidacy two weeks ago. Rumor had it that Federer was not high on Krajicek becoming the future boss.
Drewett, who will be based in London, follows Helfant (2009-2011), Etienne de Villiers (2005-2009) and Mark Miles (1990-2005) as recent ATP CEOs.
“I am honoured to have this opportunity to lead the ATP, an organisation that I am proud to have been a part of since the beginning of my professional playing career,” Drewett said. “The ATP World Tour and men’s tennis are stronger than ever and it is my intention to continue to lead the organisation on this successful path, working hand in hand with our players and tournaments. I am very excited about the opportunities ahead.”
With Drewett’s experience in Asia, under his leadership it is thought the tour will continue to mine for money and tournaments in that region, especially with the U.S. tennis scene drying up and economic hardship hitting many countries across the Americas and Europe.
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