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Peters succeeds Gonzalez as IPC chief executive

Dr Mike Peters, Chief of Staff of International Paralympic Committee, speaks on stage at the Toyota Mobility Summit on October 16, 2017 (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images for Toyota)

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has today (Friday) announced Dr Mike Peters as its new chief executive, replacing Xavier Gonzalez who left the organisation earlier in the year.

Peters (pictured) is a two-time Paralympian who captained the US seven-a-side football team at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Games. He has been serving as interim chief executive since Gonzalez’s departure in March.

Peters joined the IPC in March 2015 as chief of staff and acting director of the membership engagement department. He was named chief operating officer in July 2018 and his appointment as chief executive follows what the IPC described as an “extensive six-month long global search”.

Peters said: “As a Paralympic athlete, I witnessed first-hand the ability of the Paralympic Movement to change lives and communities. It is the privilege of my professional life to lead the IPC and I am very excited about the role and the trust the IPC Governing Board has placed in me.

“With the IPC celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, it is important to recognise that we are part of a lasting legacy, comprised of immensely dedicated and talented individuals from around the globe. It is also important to recognise this new and exciting era facing the IPC, one that requires a meaningful shift in how we do business.”

Peters volunteered on national and international governance committees for more than 12 years and served for six years on the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) Athletes Advisory Council. He was also a member of the IPC’s six-person Legal and Ethics Committee and served as a legal officer for the committee during the 2012 Paralympics.

IPC president Andrew Parsons added: “This was a key appointment for the IPC Governing Board which is why we called upon a leading external agency to support us in the recruitment. It is testament to how well respected the IPC now is as a leading global sports organisation that during the course of the recruitment process we reviewed more than 180 candidate files of the highest calibre from all corners of the world.

“Mike was the sole internal applicant and was judged against the same criteria as all external candidates. His knowledge, experience and passion for the role and the Paralympic Movement, as well as his vision to transform the culture of the IPC and make the organisation more membership focussed, placed him head and shoulders above all other candidates.”

The IPC announced the departure of Gonzalez in March, two years earlier than originally planned. The Catalan joined the IPC as Paralympic Games liaison director in 2002 and soon after became its interim chief operating officer.

Gonzalez became chief executive in 2004 and was credited with overseeing the IPC’s transformation into a thriving commercial entity. When Gonzalez joined the Bonn-based IPC, the organisation was on the brink of bankruptcy and employed less than 10 people but the committee has since grown to employ 115 individuals across all departments, regularly turning over more than €20m ($22.1m) each year.