Pelley turns 60 with news he’s stepping down as European Tour CEO

Fatiha Betscher
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Keith Pelley (Image: Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher

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European Tour CEO Keith Pelley is apparently leaving his role and returning to his native Canada, having accepted the position as President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MSLE), based in his home city of Toronto.

News of Pelley’s new career challenge has been widely reported and already appears on Wikipedia and it comes just a day after learning that R&A CEO Martin Slumbers will also step down later this year.

Pelley’s departure also comes on the day of his 60th birthday (January 11th). He became just the fourth CEO in the 50-year history of the European Tour in May, 2015 a year after Slumbers took over from Peter Dawson in accepting the leading administrative reins at the R&A.

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Pelley will be in charge of the parent company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, the Toronto Raptors basketball side, the Toronto Football Club and the Toronto Argonauts, a pro football team. The Maple Leafs in 1917 was one the then six founding NHL teams.

His European Tour leaving date is yet to be confirmed but it comes at a delicate time in men’s pro golf with negotiations still not finalised in the DP World Tour and PGA Tour’s dealings for their merger with the Saudi-based Public Investment Fund.

Whether Pelley will remain till the expected merger is finalised is unclear at this time as is who will take over in the role as CEO, though one that could be in the picture is Guy Kinnings, the present number two to Pelley and the deputy CEO and Ryder Cup Director at the Tour.

Pelley is currently in Dubai competing as an amateur in the inaugural Dubai Invitational and, no doubt, he’s been advised of what to expect when he completes his round.

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