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Goldschmidt steps down as World Surf League CEO

Sophie Goldschmidt, second from right, served as chief executive of World Surf League for two and a half years.

Sophie Goldschmidt is leaving her position as World Surf League chief executive after leading the pro surfing organization for two and a half years.

Goldschmidt is succeeded by Erik Logan, WSL’s president of content, media and studios.

Since taking the role in 2017, Goldschmidt implemented series of reforms for WSL, including the equalization of prize money for men’s and women’s surfing events, a decade-long labor agreement with surfers, a sharp rise in the organization’s visibility, particularly through digital and social media, and most recently, an increased effort around ocean sustainability. 

The shift comes as WSL is looking to become a “world-class live events, experiences, and media company.”

Goldschmidt, a former executive with several sports industry organizations including CSM Sport and Entertainment, the National Basketball Association, the Rugby Football Union and the Women’s Tennis Association, will remain on the WSL’s advisory board. Logan is the third person to have WSL’s permanent CEO role since early 2017. 

“With the WSL now ready to become a more focused content and media company, the board and I have mutually agreed it is the right time to make a change,” she said. “Having worked closely with Erik, he is the right person to lead the WLS into its next era.”

Logan has a deep background in media and content development as the former president of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and vice president of Harpo Studios, the Winfrey-founded multimedia production company. He joined WSL early last year.

“Sophie has had a huge impact on the WSL,” said Dirk Ziff, WSL owner and board member. “She is responsible for transforming both our business capabilities and culture in her tenure as CEO. With the converging trends in sports, media, and entertainment, we mutually agreed it was time to make a change. Erik Logan is a proven leader and a world-class media executive with a profound personal connection to the sport of surfing.”

Goldschmidt relocated to Santa Monica, California from London upon taking the WSL role after she left her role as group managing director at CSM. She joined the London-based sports marketing agency following four and a half years as chief commercial and marketing officer at the RFU.