• Has been in the role for almost ten years
• Leaving on the back of 'best presented' Ryder Cup
• Tour is now embarking 'on a new phase'
George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour, is to stand down from after almost a decade in the role.
O’Grady, who replaced Ken Schofield at the helm of the circuit in January 2005, has confirmed that he has asked the tour’s board of directors to begin the process of appointing his successor.
That process, said the tour in a statement, is ‘at an early stage’.
“In the aftermath of what I believe to have been the best presented Ryder Cup since my first involvement in the contest at Royal Lytham in 1977, I felt this was the right time to ask the board to begin the search for my successor,” said O’Grady, referencing the recent match at Gleneagles.
“It is my firm belief that, coming towards the end of what has been another incredibly successful season, we are now seeing the green shoots of recovery across Europe and I am pleased that this coincides with all our building blocks, in terms of key television and sponsorship contracts, being in place.”
"George has played a key part in building global relationships and developing the Tour." - David Williams, European Tour chairman
He added: “I have agreed with the board to stay not only for the time it takes to appoint a new CEO but also for sufficient additional time after that to see them properly settled in. The board also agreed that, at that stage, I will take up a role as President of International Relations which will see me represent the European Tour through the Olympic Games in 2016.”
His role in helping to get golf back in the Olympics after an absence of more than a century will likely go down as one of O’Grady’s most enduring legacies, along with the implementation of the Race To Dubai and the significant growth of The Final Series.
However, speculation over his future has been rife since rumours of the PGA Tour potentially buying out the European Tour first surfaced last year.
David Williams, chairman of the European Tour, thanked O’Grady for his service and added: “The European Tour and its players are admired throughout the world of golf and George has played a key part in building global relationships and developing the Tour.”
He added that the tour ‘is now embarking on a new phase’.
What now for the European Tour?
With the news that George O'Grady is standing down as the chief executive of the European Tour, what do you think the future holds for the circuit?