John Petrie leaves England Golf28th September, 2012 by Tania Longmire
The chief executive of England Golf, John Petrie, has left his position with immediate effect.
England Golf is the governing body for amateur golf in England and earlier this year Petrie was named as the fourth most powerful person in UK golf by Golf Club Management, as his organisation has nearly 2,000 golf clubs and over 750,000 golf club members on its books.
Petrie was England Golf’s first ever chief executive, after being appointed earlier this year, and prior to that spent four years running the English Golf Union, which merged with the England Women’s Golf Association this year to become England Golf.
No reason has been given as to why Petrie has left so suddenly. The announcement was made just a few minutes before the 2012 Ryder Cup started.
A spokesman said: “He has worked for the national governing body during one of the most significant times for the game of golf in England. He has completed the implementation of the merger on time and within budget.”
While Nigel Evans, chairman of the board of England Golf, said: “I thank John for his contribution during the past five years. The future of England Golf post merger will bring new challenges.”
Craig Wagstaff, England Golf finance director, will assume the role and duties of the chief executive for an interim period until a replacement is found. That recruitment process is set to begin shortly.
Petrie himself has issued this statement: “To be appointed to this position was a great privilege and I have thoroughly enjoyed the many challenges that faced us. I have been supported throughout by excellent staff and so many outstanding volunteers across the country. The merger leading to England Golf was a hugely significant moment and, now it has been implemented, England Golf needs to look to the future with a new chief executive.”
A spokesman for the United Kingdom Golf Course Owners Association (UKGCOA), which England Golf recently formed a partnership with, said he was sad to hear of the news, but wished Petrie all the best for the future.
“We give our best to him in his future career, wherever that may be,” he said. “And our best to England Golf in finding the next CEO.”
However, Vivien Saunders, chair of the Association of Golf Course Owners, who has been critical of England Golf and Petrie for a perceived lack of support regarding issues of taxation inequalities in golf, said she was pleased with the announcement.
“I will send out a more detailed letter once I have sobered up after the celebrations over the departure of John Petrie,” she said.
“Serves England Golf right if they get lots of good women applying for the job. But here’s one that won’t!”
Petrie is the second high profile chief executive of a major golf organisation to leave within a few days of each other. Last week Keith Lloyd announced he was leaving the Golf Club Managers’ Association as from next February.