June 7, 2021 – Spencer Stuart has assisted the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in the recruitment of Mollie Marcoux Samaan as its ninth commissioner. Mike Whan recently announced that he would be leaving the tour this year after 11 years in the top job. “Our selection of Mollie Marcoux Samaan as the LPGA’s next commissioner is the outcome of an extensive and deliberate search process,” said Diane Gulyas, chair of the LPGA board of directors and the search committee. “The position attracted a diverse group of outstanding internal and external candidates, all passionate about the LPGA. We concluded that Mollie is the right leader to guide the LPGA’s next chapter of growth, impact and achievement.”
“Mollie understands the power of golf to change the lives of girls and women,” Ms. Gulyas said. “As a values-centered leader, she’s known for her skills in collaboration, managing through complexity and building a winning team culture. In every role, she’s had an outstanding record of performance in navigating change, forging lasting partnerships, and seeing – and seizing – new opportunities.”
“Our search process was disciplined and thorough,” said Juli Inkster, a member of both the World and LPGA halls of fame and a member of the search committee. “We were impressed and honored by the large number of quality of leaders interested in the LPGA. But in the end, Mollie stood above the rest. We were impressed by her track record working with athletes; with her ability to forge new and innovative partnerships; and with her personal passion, authenticity and proven persistence for excellence.”
Ms. Marcoux Samaan was a passionate multi-sport athlete from the moment she was introduced to sports as a young girl. She is currently Ford Family Director of Athletics at Princeton University. A graduate of Princeton in 1991, her previous experience also includes a 19-year stint with Chelsea Piers Management, a company which owns and operates two amateur sports complexes. She held senior management positions at the business including executive vice president of Chelsea Piers’ 400,000-square-foot multi-venue sports complex in Connecticut. Ms. Marcoux Samaan then returned to Princeton as athletics director in 2014. Her seven years in the role have seen the university win 65 Ivy League championships, while she also implemented a strategic plan that included major improvements to facilities, created effective fundraising and revenue growth strategies, and increased marketing and exposure.
“The LPGA commissioner role is one of the best jobs in sports today and the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Ms. Marcoux Samaan. “I’m passionate about the game of golf and have been an LPGA fan since I was a little girl. I appreciate the LPGA’s history and the tenacity of its 13 founders. I’m truly inspired by our tour players and teaching professionals. I’m excited to dive into the LPGA initiatives to impact women and girls in the game at every age and ability. And, to learn about and contribute to all aspects of the LPGA’s business.”
Previous Work with LPGA
Spencer Stuart also led the search in 2009 that resulted in Mr. Whan’s appointment as LPGA commissioner. “Spencer Stuart and the search committee are committed to a collaborative search process and will engage with LPGA members, partners and other key stakeholders in the development of the position profile,” said the LPGA. “The process will also include a review of both internal and external candidates.”
Spencer Stuart’s sports business practice has been advising on senior-level talent and improved governance in the sports industry for more than two decades. Its consultants have experience working in every segment within the world of sports: professional leagues and associations, professional franchises, university athletic departments, intercollegiate athletics conferences, agencies, media, consumer products, retail, and the Olympics.
Back in 2012, Spencer Stuart helped place Chip Brewer as president and chief executive officer of Callaway Golf Co., overseeing the second-largest equipment company in the golf industry. Mr. Brewer still is in this position today.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media