The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) is moving forward with its strategic plan for the growth of women’s tennis with a further revision to its structure. The revised structure will separate the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to allow greater focus on the WTA’s mission and goals and will bring on an additional new leader to assume the CEO role. 

The CEO will be charged with responsibility for managing and growing the operations of the WTA and its many initiatives. The WTA has begun a comprehensive selection process for the CEO position, supported by the global executive search firm Korn Ferry.

Once the position of CEO has been filled, Steve Simon, currently Chairman and CEO of the WTA, will assume the role of Executive Chairman. In this role, Simon will focus on governance, strategic interests of the WTA within the sport, integrity issues and the development of new markets and frontiers for the WTA. In addition to his designated role as Executive Chairman of the WTA, Simon continues to serve as Chair of the WTA Ventures Board.

In parallel with the changes to the Chairman and CEO roles, Micky Lawler, who has served as President of the WTA since 2015, has decided to leave the organization at the end of the year to pursue new opportunities.

The planned revision to the WTA’s structure is the latest step in the WTA’s strategic development, which has led to a landmark collaboration with CVC Capital Partners and the creation of a new commercial division, WTA Ventures. The new structure will help the WTA to secure its objectives of growing the game and delivering equal prize money for women by 2033.

It will ensure that the organization benefits from breadth and depth of expertise and experience across sporting, operational and commercial matters, allowing it to take advantage of future growth opportunities while delivering world-class events and providing an excellent experience and increased compensation for players. The changes have been developed with the WTA and WTA Ventures Boards since the summer.

Steve Simon, the WTA’s Executive Chair designate, said:

“Following investment from CVC Capital Partners and the creation of WTA Ventures earlier this year, we are now moving ahead and implementing further change to ensure the WTA is well positioned for future opportunities. WTA Ventures is achieving significant progress under the leadership of CEO Marina Storti, and we are looking to replicate this model by bringing in additional operational expertise for the Hologic WTA Tour.

"By putting in place additional leadership capability and capacity, we are getting ready to accelerate the development of women’s tennis as the WTA moves beyond its 50th year. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Micky Lawler. She has been a valued colleague who has made a significant contribution to the WTA and we wish her every success for the future.”

Victoria Azarenka, former WTA World No.1 and member of the WTA Players’ Council, welcomed the development, commenting:

"I wish Steve all the best in his new role, and the continued progress and development of the WTA as an organization. The partnership with CVC has been a great opportunity for growth to our sport, and the addition of an added leadership role for increased aid will continue pushing the WTA forward and the progression of women's sports. I look forward to seeing the benefits this will bring for everyone involved in our sport."

Adam Barrett, Chair of the WTA Tournament Council and WTA Board member, added:

“On behalf of the tournaments, we are committed to delivering the highest-quality experience for players and fans.  Adding a strong CEO to the WTA leadership who will be laser focused on key operational issues will have a positive impact as we work together to further elevate women’s tennis for players, fans, partners, and our tournaments.”

Today’s announcement follows recent developments at WTA Ventures, which last month concluded new media rights agreements with Sky Sports and Canal+ across multiple European markets. In addition, WTA Ventures has announced several new appointments to its leadership team, bringing further expertise in brand marketing, finance and strategy.