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Brian Thorburn to step down as PGA Chief Executive

Brian Thorburn to step down as PGA Chief Executive
December 8, 2016

The PGA of Australia has announced that, after six years in the role, Chief Executive Brian Thorburn will be stepping down when he completes his second three-year contract with the Association in February next year.

Thorburn was appointed in 2011, by a new PGA of Australia Board and set about a comprehensive restructure and change agenda within the association that has seen it deliver a financial surplus in each of the last four years, extend the services provided to members, reduce member subscription fees and grow tournaments on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia by over 50% to 17 tournaments offering $8.9 million in prize money.

Australia’s golfing fortunes have thrived over this period with several players in the top-50 in the world including two world No 1’s in Jason Day and Adam Scott.

Peter O’Malley, Chairman of the PGA Board thanked and praised Thorburn for leading the Association over these important six years and congratulated him on the significant contributions he made during that period.

O’Malley stated “Brian oversaw the PGA Centenary in 2011, the relocation of the Australian PGA Championship to the Gold Coast in 2013, an expanded relationship with the European Tour and the establishment of new international tournaments in Fiji, Darwin, New Caldeonia, Papua New Guinea and Perth.

“Two other very significant events were held during his tenure being The Presidents Cup in Australia in 2011 and the World Cup of Golf also in Melbourne this year and 2013.

“With the PGA enjoying high brand recognition and respect, Brian leaves at a time when we are in a powerful financial position well placed to continue to expand and grow.

“The PGA looks to build greater alignment with all the other golfing bodies in Australia maximising the value and importance of its brand, celebrating its history and strengthening the position and circumstances of both its vocational and tour professionals.

“Brian effectively represented the PGA & the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia on the world stage, has been most constructive for the future of the game and he leaves with our thanks and gratitude for his contribution.

“Last week’s successful staging of the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort and the standing of that tournament is a credit to Brian who has driven not only the transition from Coolum to the Gold Coast but a number of other initiatives such as the Greg Norman Medal, the inaugural PGA Immortal Award which was presented to Peter Thomson, and the SONIQ Million Dollar Hole as a few examples,” concluded Chairman O’Malley.

Brian Thorburn stated that he was very proud of his achievements as Chief Executive of the PGA, adding “it’s been a privilege to run the PGA and I’m very pleased to have left the legacy of making a worthwhile contribution to the PGA and to the future of the great game of golf in this country.

“Living in Sydney, travelling each week to the PGA’s national office at Sandhurst in Melbourne and being on the road for over 180 days each year has been a big commitment and I am looking forward to returning to my consulting firm based in Sydney and spending more time with my young family.”

An immediate restructure sees Gavin Kirkman, a long term and highly regarded PGA executive, who has been responsible for the Vocational Professionals and Stuart Hergt, PGA Chief Financial Officer for more than five years take over as interim joint Chief Executives reporting to the Chairman and the PGA Board.

O’Malley added, “Gavin and Stuart are very capable, experienced and knowledgeable executives, and will drive us forward, whilst a search is completed for a new CEO.”

Images: Brian Thorburn (top) and the Australian PGA Championship at Gold Coast's Royal Pines Resort (below).

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