LET begin search for new CEO as Khodabakhsh departs

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The LET's chief executive Ivan Khodabakhsh has left his post after seven tournaments from the 2017 calendar were cancelled...

Ivan Khodabakhsh has left his position as CEO of the Ladies European Tour.

The former boxing supremo has been at the helm since 2012 but during the course of this year seven tournaments have been cancelled from the original schedule.

The LET’s chairman Mark Lichtenhein, who previously worked for the men’s European Tour, is taking over for the time being.

A statement on the LET website read: “The Board of the LET has asked its Chairman, Mark Lichtenhein, to assume the day-to-day management of the business on an interim basis as the Board reviews its current governance structure and business strategy.

“Under the Board’s guidance, the executive management team will continue to support all its stakeholders and ensure the future direction of the Tour.”

As recently as Monday, players received an email saying that the Xiamen International Ladies Open had been cancelled due to a lack of funding and that Qatar is unlikely to take place.

Khodabakhsh was not at either the Scottish Open or British Open in the last couple of weeks leading to speculation that he was on gardening leave. Players were advised not to make any comments on his whereabouts or the lack of events to be played in.

Khodabakhsh has overseen a period where the LET has been trying to modernise and professionalise itself as an organisation.

“We are currently 22 people, the LPGA is over 120,” Khodabakhsh told Lady Golfer in an extended interview earlier this year. “Our prize money is almost half while our television footprint is almost on a par. But last year I was hugely criticised about the size of my staff. We had grown by five people.”

He added: “We had nobody for marketing, no TV, no legal, we didn’t have a proper finance team in place. These are the basic necessities.”

While the rest of the players said nothing about the future of the tour, one of Europe’s leading lights obviously didn’t get the memo at Kingsbarns.

For Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, speaking last week, a change of leadership seemed to be the only logical step forward.

“I don’t really play much in Europe but they have obviously been having their issues with the commissioner,” said Matthew.

“I think we need to try to get that sorted and see what direction they are going to go in there. The product’s there and they have got a lot of good players. It’s just perhaps they have had the wrong person at the head. So hopefully if they can get that resolved, it can start building itself up again.”

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