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ATP appoints Gaudenzi as chairman, CEO set to follow

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has today (Thursday) appointed Andrea Gaudenzi as chairman, the first step in a new strategy for its senior leadership that will next involve a chief executive being appointed.

Gaudenzi (pictured) will serve a four-year term, commencing on January 1, having most recently served on the board of ATP Media, leading the successful restructuring of the business which serves as the international media rights sales and broadcast production arm of the men’s ATP Tour.

The 46-year-old Italian enjoyed a successful playing career in the sport, during which he won three ATP Tour titles and reached a career-high ATP ranking of 18. Gaudenzi has since forged a career in business over the past 15 years, with the ATP stating he was the unanimous choice of its Board of Directors.

Gaudenzi said today (Thursday): “The ATP has played a central part in my life in so many ways, and to be given this opportunity to serve as ATP chairman is a true honour. I look forward to overseeing the future direction of the Tour and building on the sport’s global success and popularity at what is unquestionably one of the most exciting times in the history of men’s professional tennis.”

The ATP said it entertained a wide range of candidates from within sport and beyond, with the appointment of Gaudenzi concluding an extensive leadership recruitment process undertaken over the past six months by the ATP Board, with the assistance of global leadership advisory and executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

In July, Alex Inglot, ATP Board Player Representative for Europe, called for a division of the responsibilities of current executive chairman and president Chris Kermode, stating that talks were being held that would lead to a “really interesting combination” for the leadership of the men’s tour.

The appointment of Guadenzi essentially splits Kermode’s current role into two positions. SportBusiness understands that Guadenzi will now work with the ATP Board on the appointment of a chief executive.

Inglot, who represents the players’ interests on the ATP board, was speaking as the organisation faced divisions over the future direction it should take regarding its governance. The ATP currently operates the men’s tour as a joint venture between the players and the events, with both parties having representatives on the board.

In March, it was announced that Kermode would leave his post when his term finishes at the end of this year. The decision not to give Kermode a new contract came after it emerged that he did not enjoy the full support of the influential ATP Player Council under the presidency of Novak Djokovic.

The resignation in May of Justin Gimelstob, the player representative who was thought to have led the calls for Kermode’s departure, looked like it might clear the way for the board to reverse its decision. In June, Kermode said he remained fully focused on his task in hand amid any doubts over his long-term future.

Inglot said today: “Andrea offers a compelling range of attributes and experiences inside and outside the sport that will position him very well as we seek to address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for our organisation. The ATP Tour is a unique 50-50 partnership between players and tournaments, and Andrea’s broad experience across both sides of our membership, as well as a proven track record away from tennis, were exactly what we were looking for as a Board.”

Gaudenzi has held leadership positions at several start-up entertainment, tech and gaming businesses in London, including Musixmatch and Soldo, as well as serving on the board of ATP Media, which recently posted a 6.7-per-cent rise to $121m (€108m) in 2018, as exclusively reported by SportBusiness.