Mervyn Davies has been appointed as the new chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association and will succeed David Gregson at the end of September.
Like Gregson, Lord Davies comes from a business rather than sporting background and also held several ministerial positions in the last Labour government.
He is currently partner and chairman of private equity firm Corsair Capital, chairman of investment business LetterOne, senior independent director at Diageo and chairman of the trustees of the Royal Academy Trust. He was made a peer in 2009.
A keen tennis enthusiast, he has experience within sport as a former member of the board at Tottenham and a current non-executive director of World Rugby.
Davies said: “To be appointed as the chair of the LTA is a great honour. I have huge shoes to fill and will do my best to make the sport accessible to all, whilst assisting the board, executive and council in their endeavours. I am very excited about the role since I love many different sports and am a passionate tennis player.”
Well respected and not afraid to ruffle feathers, Gregson was appointed to the unpaid role in 2012 with a brief to shake up the under-performing governing body, and his first big impact was the ending of Roger Draper’s tenure as chief executive.
Michael Downey was brought in from Tennis Canada as his successor and adopted a belt-tightening approach to high performance and a focus on grass-roots.
But, although Downey’s tenure coincided with Britain’s best results on court for many decades, the Canadian never got to grips with high performance before resigning for personal reasons last year.
Scott Lloyd succeeded Downey at the start of 2018 and Davies’ arrival coincides with the roll-out of the long-awaited performance pathway, which is due to be launched next month.
Lloyd said: “We would like to acknowledge the very significant contribution David Gregson has made as the LTA’s first independent chairman during the last five and half years.
“Key among these has included developing a new mission to arrest the long-term decline of the sport, helping craft new values for the organisation and, most critically, playing a lead role in building ever stronger relationships across the sport, its funders and government.”
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