Tennis SA CEO Richard Glover steps down

Tennis SA CEO Richard Glover has decided not to extend his contract, as he feels this is the natural end of his leadership cycle, and that he is ready for a new challenge.

Tennis South Africa chief executive Richard Glover. Picture: BLD Communications

JOHANNESBURG - Tennis South Africa (TSA) has announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Richard Glover, will step down from his position at the end of 2021.

Glover has decided not to extend his contract, as he feels this is the natural end of his leadership cycle, and that he is ready for a new challenge.

“This is very much my decision. Sometimes sports administrators overstay their welcome and cling on past their sell-by date. I never wanted to do that and this feels like the natural end of my time at TSA. There are some things that I wish I could have done differently, but on balance, I believe I will leave TSA in a better space than when I found it.”

Glover took over as TSA CEO in 2016 and came with a wealth of experience in the sports industry, having worked both locally and internationally. “I actually studied journalism many, many years ago at Rhodes University. I wanted to be a sports journalist. Then I went on holiday to the UK for two weeks, and I came back 13 years later. So basically, my parents were horrified. I was there for 13 years after just going on holiday. I started doing sports journalism in the UK, but soon realised that I was a pretty average sports journalist, but I wanted to stay in sports. I gradually moved on to the business or commercial side of sports in the UK,” he told Eyewitness News Sport last year in May.

READ: #Extratime with tennis SA CEO Richard Glover

Glover had worked on the commercial side at Arsenal football club for about five years before heading back to South Africa. He then worked for Cricket South Africa and was involved in setting up a sports marketing agency called Frontiers Sport and Entertainment.

TSA President Gavin Crookes thanked Glover for his contribution to Tennis South Africa.

“Richard has been a game changer for Tennis South Africa. His self-effacing personality, coupled with his ability to inspire and lead, underpinned by delivery and the creation of a level of trust never before experienced amongst Tennis South Africa’s many stakeholders, is testament to his success as our CEO. Richard’s ability to listen, guide and encourage within a challenging and competitive environment, whilst at all times keeping a measured, rational and objective perspective are attributes rarely found in society today.”

TSA vice-president Riad Davids echoed Crookes’ comments: “Richard, from the start, always delivered much more than what was expected. His ability to get everyone to buy-in, as well as to package and sell ideas and get commercial partners involved in tennis is a testament to his hard work and endurance. Tennis is much richer for having been led by Richard and long may his legacy continue.”

Glover joined the Federation at the end of 2016 and during that time, the TSA team has delivered many positive changes – including, but not limited to:

1) A 400% growth in annual revenue – by doubling membership numbers, signing and retaining multiple sponsors and securing a three-year broadcasting partnership with the SABC.

2) Increasing the number and quality of international events in the country – including hosting a prestigious ITF Junior Grade A and the return of ATP Challenger tournaments.

3) Launching multiple grassroots initiatives – including Growthpoint National Development Centres, Growthpoint Top Guns - Club Champs, the BNP Paribas Coaches programme and the BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis schools project.

4)Ensuring that the Federation and the wider tennis ecosystem remained sustainable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would especially like to thank the TSA president, vice-president and board for their wisdom, guidance and support, as well as the excellent team at the TSA office, our extended network of provincial volunteers and our commercial partners for all that they do. Together we have sown many seeds on some very fertile ground and I am looking forward to seeing these seeds take root and grow into mighty oak trees in the coming years. I am especially excited to see a new CEO, with fresh ideas and energy, come in and build on what we have started. I have little doubt that the federation will be able to recruit an excellent replacement, who will take the organisation forward, in a way that I was unable to do,” said Glover.

TSA said it had already begun the search for Glover's successor.

"A plan is already in place that will see the appointment of a suitable replacement for Richard. We expect that, with our growing profile, we will have a number of high-quality candidates emerge from the recruitment process," Crookes said.

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