ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA has announced the transition of its long-term chair and CEO, Stacey Allaster, effective October 2, 2015.
Allaster joined the WTA in January 2006 as its president and in July 2009 was promoted to chair and CEO. Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Sports", she has led the WTA through significant growth, marked by fan-friendly improvements to the game, innovative use of data and technology, a focus on global growth with Asia Pacific being the strategic priority, enhancing the health and well-being of the athletes, while also championing gender equality.
Under her leadership, the WTA secured one billion dollars in diversified contracted revenues, including a landmark international media agreement that will maximize fan exposure to women's tennis as the game is broadcast around the world. She also oversaw a record-setting WTA Finals in Istanbul and secured a strategic partnership with Singapore to stage the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global from 2014 to 2018. The WTA Finals Singapore is the largest financial partnership ever negotiated in the history of the WTA's season finale.
"It's been a privilege to lead the organization that Billie Jean King founded and to have worked with the world's best female athletes, dedicated tournament promoters and passionate and professional WTA team members. For 25 years I have dedicated my professional life to the sport and I'm proud of the work I leave behind," Allaster said. "But the recent loss of my brother-in-law and the ATP's CEO, Brad Drewett, has provided a personal wake-up call about life, family and priorities and it is time for me to shift some time and energy that way. When I joined the WTA my goal was to leave the organization on a stronger footing and I feel a humble sense of pride in what we have all accomplished here. I have focused on what it means to be a champion and I have tried to be a strong role model for women to encourage success in the sports industry," said Allaster.
"Stacey has been a visionary leader for tennis this past decade. She brought positive fundamental change while serving as an exemplary role model, and she executed our biggest and best financial strategies during a very difficult economy," said WTA founder Billie Jean King. "Stacey performed her job with tenacity and heart which is what is required for transformational change."
Allaster has been an advocate for women and was instrumental in securing equal prize money for women tennis players at six WTA events and all four Grand Slams. She also played an integral role in the development of the Roadmap, the WTA's long-term plan that streamlined the calendar to enhance the overall health of the players while delivering top players on a more consistent basis to fans and tournaments. Since the introduction of the Roadmap, prize money has increased 100%.
"Stacey has been an outstanding leader for the WTA and she will be missed throughout the industry," said WTA Board Member Lisa Grattan. "We will turn our attention now to the future and we are confident her successor will deliver for fans, tournaments, and partners in the outstanding manner that they have come to expect. Our process to hire a new CEO is underway."
WTA players and fans alike took to Twitter to express their thoughts and well wishes:
A very brave decision. Stacey worked relentlessly to bring the game to another level. Respect her family priorities! https://t.co/mgwA2BrneN
OMG! Cannot believe it! Thank you, Stacey. Wish you all the best and welcome to visit China anytime! https://t.co/zdAMA4qhk2
? Elena B Foundation (@ElenaFoundation) September 22, 2015
So proud of Stacey Allaster and the foundation for growth and greatness she has built at the #WTA. Thank you for leading and inspiring us
Thank you for everything you achieved for us Stacey. Wishing you all the best and enjoy the time with your family #tennisfamily
Congratulations to Stacey Allaster for a job well done at the #WTA - and now you can relax:). Thanks for your hard work and passion:)
Thank you Stacey for all you've done for women's tennis! You are truly amazing and I wish you the best in your future endeavors! ???? @WTA
Thanks for being a fantastic @WTA CEO, Stacey! At least we got to ring the Nasdaq bell before you left ? Good luck and enjoy family time
Thanks for everything you did for us, for the tour and for all the tennis fan Stacey, wish you all the best for your post tennis life @WTA
@WTA Thank you for everything you achieved for us Stacey it means a lot! Wishing you all the best & enjoy time with your family!
Thank you Stacey for your love and devotion! You have been a great leader and a true inspiration. You will be missed! ?