Jon Podany, a PGA Tour executive for the past 15 years, has been named chief marketing officer for the LPGA. The tour made the announcement on Thursday in a statement, which is reprinted below:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., February 15, 2010 - LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan today announces that Jon Podany, a well-respected PGA TOUR sales, marketing and business development executive for the past 15 years, will become the LPGA Chief Marketing Officer beginning the week of March 29.
"Jon's experience and consistent proven results in golf sales and business development will be a huge asset to the LPGA and our extended family of tournament, television and corporate partners," said Whan. "Jon's success in selling golf, his deep knowledge of sponsors, and his lifelong passion for the game of golf make him an ideal leader to add to the LPGA team."
Podany's primary responsibility as the PGA TOUR's Senior Vice President, Business Development was the identification of new sponsors across the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour and the management of existing PGA TOUR title sponsor relationships. Since joining the PGA TOUR in 1995 following eight years in finance and brand management positions at Procter & Gamble, Podany has worked on more than 70 corporate partnership agreements and/or renewals at the PGA TOUR. He also helped lead development of a number of key initiatives including the award-winning "These Guys are Good," campaign, "Giving Back - The Heart of PGA TOUR" charitable program, Champions Tour 25th Anniversary and the ShotLink scoring and statistical system. At the LPGA, Podany will assume leadership responsibilities in U.S. domestic sales and business development, corporate marketing, television and digital media. The LPGA Tour season begins next week with the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand tournament, followed the week of Feb. 22 by the HSBC Women's Champions tournament in Singapore.
"I am very grateful for the 15 wonderful years at the PGA TOUR, and it is not easy leaving," Podany said. "However, the LPGA opportunity tugged at my heart for several reasons. First, I've known Mike Whan for more than 25 years and have great respect for him, so it's a unique chance to work together. Second, I believe my skills and experience position me to truly make a difference in the success of the LPGA. Finally, I have three daughters who are all athletes, so I have a personal interest in helping women's professional sports thrive."
Podany, a Miami University (Ohio) graduate, started his career in 1987 at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a cost analyst, eventually working his way up to a Brand Manager position. He joined the PGA TOUR in 1995 as Director, Business Development, and was promoted to Vice President, Business Development two years later, becoming at the time the youngest Vice President at the Tour. While serving as Senior VP, Brand Development & Marketing Services from 2003-2005, Podany was cited twice by the Sports Business Journal as one of the most prominent young executives in sports, earning their "Forty Under 40 Award."
"Jon Podany has been a significant contributor to the PGA TOUR's success over the past 15 years," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "While we are sorry that Jon is leaving us, we are pleased he is staying in golf and with the opportunity he'll have with the LPGA."
Podany's hire comes on the heels of several exciting 2010 LPGA business developments, including the addition of a new tournament this season, the Sybase Match Play Championship to be held in May. This week, the LPGA and its partners secured Hana Bank Financial as title sponsor of an LPGA tournament for the next three years in Korea, and added Kia Motors as title sponsor of its new event in southern California, now known as the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf.
"We're all eager for the season to begin so we can once again showcase the greatest women golfers in the world for our fans, media and partners," said Whan. "Jon will be an invaluable teammate and leader for the LPGA, and I know his experience working with global corporations and love of the game will help us maintain the momentum and energy surrounding the LPGA."