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November 21, 2014

George O'Grady

David Williams


SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Thank you very much for your attendance here with us this morning.テつ We are, as you can see being joined on the top table by George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, and David Williams who is the Chairman of the PGA European Tour's Board of Directors.
A little over two week ago The European Tour made a significant announcement to the effect that after ten years as Chief Executive, and indeed 40 years in total with The European Tour, George had asked the board to begin the search for his successor.テつ We explained in that statement that the announcement had, in fact, been planned for here today at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
However, despite the news coming a little sooner both George and David were keen to honour the commitment to come here today and continue a welcome tradition of The European Tour's senior executives addressing our many friends in the media in the during the week of our season‑ending event.
Therefore, without much further ado it's my pleasure to hand over the microphone to the Chief Executive of The European Tour, George O'Grady.
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ Thank you, Scott.テつ As you know we pride ourselves in accuracy here.テつ So it's nine years in actual fact, not ten.
But firstly, welcome, and thank you for finding time to come here today.テつ We felt whatever we planned ourselves, it would be more respectful if we had this meeting today as we back up the very forthright and enjoyed the relationship I personally Have had with AGW and the golfing media throughout my career.テつ
I think so many of you here enrich this game we all seem to be driven to support or in love with, as I said when I spoke at the Association of Golf Writers dinner at Royal Lytham St.Annes the last time The Open Championship was played there.
I feel this is the beginning of a new chapter in my life.テつ I'm certainly not leaving today.テつ I've agreed with the Board of Directors as the press release has said, to stay and help in the search for my successor.テつ I've said before, it could be people within the Tour, it can be a think from a short list, but they have all been looking far and wide for someone who will lead the next chapter in development of The European Tour, especially as it is on such a global stage.
I think I could go through what I feel I've done in my time but most of you know that better than I, because I read it in the papers as we come.テつ But we are here in Dubai, which certainly will be one of my key achievements, I feel, as Chief Executive; to, one‑‑ anybody could have dreamt up the race to due if somebody comes at you with a pot of cash.テつ But keeping it going through the recession downturn did require a modicum of skill from the whole team here in Dubai and within The European Tour.
This is a good time to be going onto the next chapter.テつ We've just come off what I believe was the most successfully‑staged Ryder Cup in its history.テつ We've had some pretty good ones, both in Wales, Ireland, Spain, and going back to The Belfry.テつ But we were blessed with good weather, blessed with a tremendous match, wonderful support in Scotland by the First Minister and all his government agencies, building on the success from Ireland and Wales, and now The Ryder Cup is secure for the immediate future.テつ We know we are going to be in four years' time in France; they are very committed and the bid process is underway for the other countries who might step up to the plate.
The European Tour has weathered the recession.テつ With we quite strong and have money in the bank for the first time in quite some time.テつ We can choose which way we want to go, and I think what we do with our Senior Tour, what we do with the Challenge Tour; we have got the building blocks with the Federations from Europe, the structure of golf in so many different countries.テつ I cited one, Italy, which is so strong now, their youth programs.テつ We have seen the crop of good, young Italian players.テつ A 17‑year‑old has just come in third four Qualifying School, Renato Paratore, who has come through.
We are looking at regulations along with all the other tours on what age you can become a Tour member.テつ We don't have a regulation at the moment.テつ We haven't had to, and we realise that there are brilliant young golfers are coming out of China, where the Olympic effect is taking effect.
There are so many big TV contracts in America and SKY in the U.K. and all the other stations around the world are in place now and strong for the next few years.テつ We have big sponsors on side, with not just this tournament; this is the first of a four‑year agreement, with a lot of different companies in Dubai.テつ We are strong with China; we are strong with BMW; our Flagship Event is strong, but even more so we are with governments.テつ The Irish government, North and south, Scottish government, Prime Minister of Malaysia and other places, if you like, around the world.
I think we have been lucky in the growth period of this time on the advisors we've had.テつ There's many different ones, Johan Rupert I would cite at the top, our longest‑running sponsor on the Tour.テつ When I've had problems of a global nature, he's been there for me.テつ Prime Ministers; the First Minister of Scotland has been really powerful ally to develop Scottish business, and it's the same in Ireland.テつ The Federation Chairmans who are leading; ‑‑ I cited the chairman of Spain and France in particular, they lent on Ken Schofield and myself to try and do our utmost to get golf into the Olympic Games.
I think it was more impactful around the world than it possibly was in America, where you are affecting tournament schedules.テつ But the support and the letters of appreciation from the chairmen of those federations and their delight that I will stay on and assist with the Olympic Games, I think is a great opportunity for me for which I'm very grateful.
The thing, also, we leave:テつ The relationship with governing bodies, the R&A, USGA, Augusta National, the PGA TOUR, and The PGA of America, have never been stronger.テつ I could recite how many players are in all the majors now, last year, as opposed to 2004.テつ It's a very significant growth curve which shows the impact of European Tour professionals and their strength on the world stage and how they got there with the bodies in each country helping.
You can see a lot of them here in this championship, representing the Swedish Golf Federation, the Danish Golf Federation, the Italian Golf Federation, virtually all the bodies that we take National Opens to are here supporting their players, and it speaks volumes for it.
As you all know how European Tour players are charismatic and they are driven in their responsibilities; I've used that phrase many times.テつ The European Tour responds to the culture of the country we're in, and never more was that as important as it is today.
The structure of the game is good.テつ The developing talent we see wherever we go; our charity giving has leapt ahead in the last ten years.テつ Our own Benevolent Trust which supports so many people pays out over 300,000 pounds a year and have over a million pounds in the bank.
Outgoing politicians sometimes use this phrase, but I mean it.テつ It's been a privilege to serve the game of golf in the various roles I have.テつ I've used the phrase when I have spoken at Tour dinners in the past that we are all guests of The European Tour.テつ Everybody who is allowed to work for it or report on it, who enriches the game of golf, every single one of us; I consider myself a guest of the Tour.テつ And now with the Olympic role and a job to inspire, I think is a new chapter.
I would now finish by welcoming our chairman, David Williams.テつ It's certainly the wish of our players and player representatives aboard that we go for an independent chairman skilled in business to shape the Tour, shape the Tour's board, shape the Tour's staff so that we are properly fit to face the future.テつ There is a need for change, and I've instructed all our staff, and myself personally, to assist in this strategic review which is taking place now.テつ I think they've found it's not quite as easy as certain other companies because of our relationships in so many parts of the world; but that will be supported and announced as soon as we can.
We intend to build on what we have to take control of the future.テつ I finally finish by thanking everybody in the room for your support over the years, for your advice.テつ I take ‑‑ criticism is the word I said last year.テつ The difference between advice and criticism is quite narrow, but each one is to be used as a tool for the future.テつ I hope I thank you for your support and friendship and long may it continue.テつ Thank you.テつ (Applause).
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Thank you very much, George.テつ Before we take some questions from the floor, David, I know you would like to add a few words of your own.
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ Yes, I would, Scott.テつ And George, these are some personal words I've written if you don't mind.
In today's fast‑paced world, there are not many people who can say they have been well employed for than 40 years.テつ There are not many people who can say they have been CEO for nine years.テつ George has just been through a list of the achievements that he's had and the European Tour has under his leadership.
But George has been in the position for that long, and that gives him an intimate understanding of both The European Tour, but also golf on the wider world stage.テつ He's been CEO over a period of time where European golf has flourished on the world stage, and he's done this without anything like the financial resources of one or two other tours I could name.
The DP World Tour Championship, the final event of The Race to Dubai here at Jumeirah Golf Estates, is a very real example of George's personal drive, and his intervention here made a very big difference at a difficult time in the gulf.テつ George remained loyal when others were leaving, and people don't forget that.
A successful staging of The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles is perhaps the preeminent example of Europe's top players coming together with its administrators in a very, very powerful way, and there are so many more examples we could give.
You know, George has a formidable contact list.テつ We heard about a few of them just now, and it's a contact list in a sport where relationships still do matter.テつ And that has helped us on the world stage; again, the IGF and the Olympics amongst others.
And you know, we really value our sponsors and our partner relationships, and George has always understood that.テつ From the moment I arrived at the Tour, that was made very clear to me.テつ But it's not just sponsors and partners commercially, it's sponsors and partners in government and in federations as George has described.
So it's for this reason that we can plan for our future, knowing that we have the financial resources, and the strong balance sheet.テつ And for those with long memories, you'll know it wasn't always like this.テつ So it's clear to me, that in the future, and really, George, this is the key, really, when the book on The European Tour and its development is written, the George O'Grady name will be preeminent during a the time when he was CEO, and it will be seen as‑time where our members continued to play well on the world stage and The European Tour could look forward to a successful future.
So on behalf of the membership of the Tournament Players' Committee, the Board of The European Tour, sponsors and friends, I'd like to publically thank George for what he's achieved.テつ Put simply, we wouldn't be here without you, George.テつ Thank you.テつ (Applause).
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Thank you very much, David, for those comments.テつ I'll just open the floor up to some questions.

Q.テつ David, those are fine and fierce words, and no doubt heartfelt, but there are a great many of us here who have worked with George that felt that when you said publically in this statement could actually have been classified as damning with famed praise.テつ It didn't seem to chime with what you have just said now about George, and I'm wondering why you've waited until now to say these things.テつ That statement seemed to be notable for Tim Finchem saying more effusive things about George than you did, and it struck us, a number of us, as an odd thing to happen at that time.テつ I'm not sure what the question is, but ‑‑テつ I'm sorry if that's a long‑winded statement, but the question is perhaps, what is your reaction to my rather long‑winded statement.
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ Should I try and help you with the question, which was, why do you say today what you might have said yesterday.
Look, it was just very important that we said the words today, and this was always our plan to come to Dubai, to come to this tournament and to make the sort of comments that both George and I together have made.
I absolutely understand there was some comment made in the press about the statement that we put out.テつ I can absolutely assure you that there was‑‑ the statement itself was heartfelt.テつ Perhaps my personal words today were a little more heartfelt.

Q.テつ David, you've been in this position now for just under a year, if I'm right.テつ Is there any coincidence that the top man is going out the door, or should we see that as a coincidence?
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ Coincidence?

Q.テつ That the top man is out of the door and you've been here less than a year.
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ George has explained the background to George's decision.テつ I don't believe so, no.
We're living in a world of golf that is built on relationships, but also we live in a world of great change, as well.
And it is clearly the case that as chairman of The European Tour there are a number of things that I'm charged with doing on behalf of the Board of Directors, and one of the critical things, for any chairman, actually, is to ensure that you have succession planning in place.テつ And this is part of, what I would call, the more regular succession planning that I'm used to seeing in most of the businesses that I've worked with over time.

Q.テつ George, can I ask, in your words, what are your reasons for stepping aside?
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ Well, in various other articles, interviews the last couple years, I've been asked when I was going to go, and as I said, I go when I decide the time was right.テつ That time is now for various reasons; some of which I think I've explained in my opening statement, and there's many reasons that make it the time now.テつ Those are the ones I'm publishing.

Q.テつ I think you have said in the past, though, George, that you'd like to sort of go on till Paris in 2018.テつ Has something changed?
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ I think I said that last year‑‑ I forget who asked me.テつ It might have been Global Golf Post.テつ But that that question was asked by somebody who said Thomas Bjテδカrn wanted me to go to France.テつ I have also said that if I sensed a change in the atmosphere with players and whatever else I would think about it.
I think with us being so strong now commercially, structurally, that it would take‑‑ I believe actually you'd expect me to say this:テつ I think the job is complex in the sense in terms of knowledge of golf, The Rules of Golf, the traditions of the game, our field staff, which I think are excellent, and then it's the business side.
The business side is what people want to concentrate on now, and I think you need time to get the next guy in.テつ David has referred to the worldwide, if you like, contact book.テつ You can't just pick the phone up, otherwise I would spend time introducing this guy, or girl, for that matter.テつ It could be either.テつ There's some very good contestants in the ladies world.テつ I felt you couldn't just stay on yourself doing the same role.
I think this time last year, we were debating the rules on The Final Series, which I tried to delegate down to others to come up with, but it all falls back, if you like, on the Chief Executive if it doesn't work.テつ Delighted that here in Dubai, all the Top 60 apart from one player who has his own personal issues are playing, and you have to work on those things.
And so I've used that period.テつ I was intending originally to go through to France to use that period, and now I think two years is right, and then a chapter of free rein, who knows; at the end of two years, end of 2016, what the world will look like then.テつ And golf is your life.テつ I've stated The European Tour has been my life for 40 years, and it always will be.

Q.テつ On the basis noted people do the same job in the same way, what would you like to see George's successor do differently and what do you think they will need to do differently?
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ Well, these are very big shoes to fill, and it is absolutely the case that your relationship part of this, which George will remain part of for the next two years, is going to remain very important.
But George also referred to the fact that the business of the Tour is also absolutely essential.テつ And we are in a very privileged position right now, not only are our members playing well, but the financial strength of the Tour is such that we have the ability to do what we are currently doing in a very planful way and that gives us a very good opportunity with our sponsors and partners to continue building The European Tour for the future.
So I suspect that the profile of the next CEO will perhaps have more of a business focus, if you would.テつ But you know, we are very open‑minded as to who that person is and what background they come from.テつ There is absolutely‑‑ this is not set in stone.

Q.テつ A year ago, you said and you just alluded to it then, that you were looking at the constitution of the players here for The Final Series and they were unhappy about having to play two early on, but we have never since, to my knowledge, told what the system was this year, and of course we have heard that not the players being upset, but the sponsors being upset that Rory didn't play earlier, which is understandable, they want the world No. 1.テつ But what was the system this year?
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ The system was, as I think I said at the press conference last year, I felt all these tournaments should stand on their own two feet.テつ The minimum prize money is $7 million BMW, $7 million in Turkey.テつ I felt it was unfair to our partners in Dubai that an artificial rule was put in place so they were deprived of three top players.
The rule now is you've just got to play your 13, and to get into the bonus pool, you've got to play here, which is the rule we have when we had the Volvo Masters in the earlier days.テつ I pay due respect the chairman of the DP World, His Excellence, Sultan Bin Sulayem, who has been a great source of advice to me since we did the deal to come to Dubai in the first place.
I explained to him last year, in a testament to this tournament, that because of an artificial rule that we had imposed, Dubai didn't have three world‑class players who virtually every tournament in the rest of the world, apart from the Majors is fighting to get them to play by whatever means they can.テつ These three players were unhappy they couldn't play here because of that rule.
I'm particularly pleased that Sergio Garcテδュa, Charl Schwartzel, and especially Ernie Els are playing this week on that basis, and saying to me how much they enjoy coming here.テつ For all the delights I've said before this tournament, we finish in a central part of the world which is easy to access for our global contingent of players; climate is great, 30‑odd degrees with dry heat and wonderful hotels.テつ This is the perfect place to finish the year at the moment.

Q.テつ David, you alluded to the fact that you could easily go for a successor for George to the business world, but as somebody who has come from that background, yourself, isn't it imperative that one of the two top jobs should be filled by someone from within the golfing fraternity, and somebody perhaps who has similar access to the contact book that you spoke of George having.
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ Well, look, I said we were very open‑minded because as we work with a search firm, we will define more precisely the role.テつ We are very blessed on The European Tour because we have an extraordinary number of people working in the tour who are incredibly knowledgeable about golf and we have a Board of Directors who are incredibly knowledgeable about the game of golf.
So there's a balance there, and as we work through the strategic plan that George referred to, we have also got to make certain that whoever leads the Tour in the future has the skill set to implement that plan.テつ So there's a couple of things moving here that will define how that role finally looks.テつ But believe me, I absolutely understand the complexity of and the nuances of the golfing world.テつ I think I said that to some of you about a year ago.

Q.テつ On a very different subject, George, you mentioned there is some money in the pot for once.テつ We've lost The Wales Open, we still talk a lot about the lack of tournaments in the U.K.テつ Are there any plans to use that money to try and establish another tournament in the U.K.?
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ The strength of the money we have is to back up sustainable growth that we have.テつ We are not going to sponsor the tournament completely ourselves.テつ We go with a business partner which we certainly had and hoped to announce by today or this week.テつ That's slowed down a bit in the last spell.テつ But we want another British event and for every one you see out there announced, a lot goes to the 11th hour.テつ So we'll just see.

Q.テつ I know in various interviews after the announcement, you have said that your biggest challenge was to chart the course during the recession period.テつ But what I want to ask is that would you say that one of the failures of your leadership was that you were not able to monetise properly or exploit the European success of Ryder Cup in getting more events, or was it just the economic crisis that triggered that in the last five, six years, in Europe?
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ I think to make The European Tour successful, you market all your key properties.テつ We have used The Ryder Cup around the world to grow the game of golf and grow the game in that market.
The Euro Zone crisis hit the continent of Europe particularly hard.テつ You saw that in Spain where we went down basically just to the Spanish Open, and we worked pretty hard to keep the Spanish Open going, I might say.テつ The Italian Open; these are our partners in the Italian Golf Federation, personally sponsored the last two years, has been a personal friend of mine; I was a friend of his father.テつ He now owns the golf club in Turino.テつ So out of respect to his father, he's been sponsoring The Italian Open.
The Ryder Cup kept The Wales Open going with Terry Matthews, and he's now developing his hotel, so that is two or three years away.テつ We are work the Diageo Company on a new idea for the future.テつ Its at its early stages but our partner is the First Minister of Scotland.
I think we did quite well to come through it when we actually didn't have any money in the bank ourselves.テつ The PGA Tour were more successful; they had a war chest of money, which they have dipped into quite strongly to keep the confidence factor up.テつ We are now more confident in our structure than ever before.
We have somebody in the room here from the made in Denmark tournament; they are strong for three years, huge attendance, is well promoted, and the Czech Republic event is bursting into new markets.
These things take a bit of time.テつ The European Tour itself promotes over six events that we take financial responsibility for; that means I personally as the Chief Executive have relationships with the chief executives of all those sponsoring companies, and their chairmen.テつ And that means you're in and out of both those tournaments across the world all the time.
Look at the continent of Europe.テつ Tell me which top big management company runs a tournament in there.テつ So they have moved to other parts of the world.テつ I respect ISM bringing the Turkish Open in, and IMG have run the Volvo World Match Play, but that is a specialised, limited‑field event.テつ We have looked to new promotors to bring in with that.テつ I think our record is there; it can be criticised.
But when Barclays walked out of The Scottish Open, we just announced that The Scottish Open now will be strong and secure and with minimum prize funds which stand in comparison to anywhere in the world, and our partners are the Scottish government and Aberdeen Asset Management.
We kept The Irish Open going when nobody was coming to any money with us, despite the Irish players support; and now we are partnered with Rory McIlroy and the Rory McIlroy Foundation.テつ I think that is a building block for the future going forward.テつ There's one thing that makes The European Tour so happy, that Rory McIlroy has partnered with us with that tournament.
If we did launch the British Masters, we are in partnership with four of our big British players and we are on the way with that one.テつ I think these things can't be done overnight.テつ The record is there.テつ It has to be touched.テつ The PGA Championship, the BMW PGA Championship is our Flagship Event at Wentworth.テつ Wentworth invested a lot of money through the recession to give us a course we can be proud of; new Chinese owners who I've been in discussion with; Julian Small from Wentworth has come here to respect the week.
And I think the criticism, I'll take it, but I think, look at the record.

Q.テつ David, you've come through the business sector, you've been with The European Tour now for 12 months.テつ Has that enabled you to see what the future is, in fact, for The European Tour, and is there a time scale or do you have a time scale or what happens next?
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ Look, I would not be so bold or pretentious to tell you that I can map out the future of The European Tour.テつ I do think that The European Tour based on what we have talked about this morning will have a very successful future.
But I'm very confident with the members playing as they are, and the administrators doing what they are doing, and with us working perhaps a little harder on this area of sponsorship and partnership, what I call the business of the Tour; I'm in a very privileged position and I'm very confident The European Tour will have a great future, I really am.
I also should go back to our strategy, by the way.テつ Guys in Wentworth are doing a lot of work at the moment around our strategy.テつ We'll share that with you after we've spoken to, really, the people who it impacts most.テつ We're still some way from being able to share that in full as we'd like to but I'm pretty excited by what I'm seeing there, and I would like to think you all will be, too, actually.

Q.テつ To follow on from that, are you looking for in the future of The European Tour from a monetary basis, rather than how the Tour has developed at this point?
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ I think that in the world we live in today, it is absolutely the case that and we have referred to it a number of times both George and I, that it is absolutely the case that if you have strong financials, there is an awful lot more that you can do as a European Tour.
One level is just as simple as that.テつ And The European Tour is in a good place today, and the challenge that I have and the board have, and indeed, the executive team have, the challenge we have is:テつ Can we build it even bigger and even better.
You know, that is my mission and that's what I'm about and that's what I hope we'll be able to deliver over the next few years.テつ Certainly, certainly I am personally very committed to insuring that happens.

Q.テつ George, Rory obviously won The Race to Dubai with an event to spare which has prompted some talk about possible changes to the format.テつ He said he was also open that if The European Tour did decide they wanted to make any changes, he didn't really mind.テつ Have you given any thought to that to sort of ensuring FedEx style, that it would always go to the final event?
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ The concept of the playoff is a very American concept, which has not really gone down in the other parts of the world, yet.テつ It's happening in rugby in the Premiership, where I think last year, who won it テや Saracens won the normal Premiership, and Northampton won in the playoffs and it comes on that.
This year, whatever format you had, if Rory McIlroy didn't win your season‑long thing, you'd have to say you contrived it.テつ It's been contrived this year on a number of points for all of those Final Series events; I'm not too sure I'm mad keen on that.テつ That's basically understanding, some degree of protection to your sponsors.テつ I like something that is clean and easy to understand.
It's happened before in the old Volvo Order of Merit where we were unable to secure a bonus pool from Volvo.
Here, this bonus pool now, I think I'm indebted to Lawrence Donegan, who is not here today, he said well, the failure the first year, we had a $10 million prize fund, $10 million bonus pool, and we dropped it to 7.5 each, which went down hugely well here in Dubai, when we offered to cut the costs.テつ It still was 7.5 each, though, didn't see it as that bad.
Now we are $8million prize fund and $5 million bonus pool, and that's because we have support from companies like Rolex who, gave us a huge contract last year, basically to grow the game around the world; the responsibility put on us to choose ways of doing, and with regard to them at the same time.
Now that we have Emirates Airlines on side and Jumeirah Golf Estates, this new clubhouse which we opened on Monday with Ahmed is a huge testament to what is going to happen here in Dubai now.テつ I don't know, others are wiser than me on how you arrange these things.テつ We have a huge pot of money to be divided.
There is nothing taken away from this event, really, because Rory McIlroy has won it before.テつ If I was a betting man, of course I'm not, of course I don't approve of betting at all; I'd bet my house on Rory McIlroy this week because I just watched him play this year and it's superb.
Now, there's nothing given in golf.テつ We will sit down‑‑ I said last year, we would sit down after the tournament and look at all the structures we needed.テつ Now we'll sit down again.テつ If you just play as well as Rory McIlroy, you know, it's been a spectacular year, hasn't it.テつ So the right winner of The Race to Dubai.

Q.テつ Just wondering what kind of advice you got from your predecessor before you took the job, and if you were to leave a note on your desk for your successor, what might you say to him or her?
GEORGE O'GRADY:テつ Well, we only put on the web site three tributes that came in.テつ I'm not a great one on ‑‑ self‑praise is no praise.テつ And as you know, I enjoyed an individual relationship with Ken Schofield, and as one big sponsor said, you can take one of us on, but the two of us together were quite hard.
But I think if you look at Ken Schofield's remarks about me, which he gave live on the Golf Channel, and which has gone through on the Morning Drive programme in the States, he reckons the single biggest thing I brought to the job is integrity.テつ And if you're going to have relationships around the world, your word must be your bond.テつ And if you are a voice for so many people, and you do the work we have, you must have compassion.テつ I don't compare where I'm clever enough or not clever enough, I'd like to be remembered for integrity and compassion.

Q.テつ Could I ask about the mechanics of this?テつ When the R&A announced when Peter Dawson said he was stepping down, an advertisement appeared in the Sunday Times and other places.テつ Have you placed an advertisement for George's job, and if not, will you, and where you in the process?
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ That's a very helpful question and you've reminded me that I probably should have shared where we are in the process with you.
As I was also just reminded back to the prior question, when the conservative coalition came into power, some of you may remember that the outgoing Labour Minister left a note in the drawer for the incoming minister and the note said, "The money's run out."テつテつ
We are in a very privileged position, as I said, the money has not run out and that is very much the legacy that George leaves here.テつ When I say legacy, George will be around CEO until we find the new CEO.
Let me talk about that process.テつ We will appoint a search firm.テつ The world of sports administration is actually a very interesting one at the moment.テつ People are very interested in coming into it.テつ That firm will work with us on the profile of the role.テつ We'll get input from George on how he sees the role going forward.
And we'll look at that against the people who are out there who will either apply or we will approach.テつ The nomination committee, which is chaired by David Jones, will lead that process and I suspect it could take‑‑ it will take whatever time is necessary to find that person.テつ That may be 12 months, it may be nine months, it may be six months.テつ So it will take some time.テつ And we may not‑‑ we may choose not to advertise.

Q.テつ I don't know about my colleague, but I would like‑‑ wondering whether you would give any more precise date.
DAVID WILLIAMS:テつ Well, 31, 7‑‑ no, it's very difficult.テつ I think we have both indicated, this is a very exciting role to fill but it's also a difficult role to fill, as well, because we have to the to get it absolutely right.テつ We are responsible for 400 members playing rights and live lie hoods and next year and the following year, etc.テつ And I'm very conscious of that.テつ So we have to find the right person, and we have to take the time to find the right person.
So we'll take the time we need to find the right person, and I honestly can't tell you how long that will take.テつ The process is effectively kicking off.テつ It's kicked off, and we'll move as quickly as we can because nature ab horse a vacuum.テつ George is still there, so in that sense we don't have a vacuum but we have made this announcement.
So there is quite an onus on us to get out there.テつ Sorry not to be absolutely precise, but if I knew, I'd be able to forecast the absolute precise future of the Tour, as well.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ All right, everyone, are we all done?テつ I think we are.テつ Thank you very much for your attendance, David and George, thank you for yours.

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