Goldschmidt named World Surf League CEO

The World Surf League (WSL) has appointed experienced sports industry figure Sophie Goldschmidt as its new chief executive.

Goldschmidt (pictured) joins the WSL from the CSM Sport and Entertainment agency and will take over from interim chief executive Dirk Ziff next month.

Goldschmidt served as group managing director for CSM, overseeing the agency’s business initiatives and commercial growth across its global operations. She also managed the group’s brand development and marketing.

Goldschmidt’s career has also seen her serve as chief commercial and marketing officer for England’s Rugby Football Union; senior vice-president and managing director of EMEA at North American basketball league the NBA; and vice-president of the Women’s Tennis Association. She began her career at German sportswear giant Adidas, where she served as the company’s tennis and women’s football sports marketing manager in the United States.

In her new role, Goldschmidt will seek to evolve the global landscape of surfing, which will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. She has also outlined commitment to athletes, fan experience and further globalisation of the sport as key areas for the WSL going forward.

The WSL said that Goldschmidt will advance a range of athlete development programs to help grow interest in the sport, while creating tailored fan experiences through new formats, live content and other media.

Goldschmidt said: "It is an honour to lead the WSL. The League has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and has pioneered incredible innovations to transform surfing into a remarkable, digital-first and world-class sport that naturally also transcends into the lifestyle sector so well. I am confident the future holds incredible potential and I am excited to lead WSL into its next phase of growth."

Ziff, who is also a WSL board member, added: “It has been my privilege to serve as interim CEO of the World Surf League during such an exciting and transformational time. It has always been my mission to hand over the reins to a leader who will take us to the next level. Sophie is exactly what the League needs – her experience, strong leadership and winning and inclusive management style will further elevate the League and grow engagement among fans around the world.”