Board shuffle for Asian Tour

HONG KONG • The Asian Tour announced a major shake-up of its board of directors yesterday, after the resignation of its chief executive officer, following deep divisions over a proposed tie-up with Europe's golf body.

Former European Tour chief executive Ken Schofield was among those to lose his seat as four prominent Asian businessmen were named as non-playing directors.

A statement revealed that three player members were also removed and Asian Tour chairman Kyi Hla Han was named as "interim Tour Commissioner".

No reasons were given for the sweeping changes, which follow fierce debate over plans to merge the Asian and European Tours.

Of the four new non-playing directors, two are from companies - Yeangder and ICTSI - who hold title sponsorships for Asian Tour tournaments.

"The quartet are prominent businessmen and industry leaders in their respective countries, avid golfers and have the desire and vision to grow the Asian Tour," said the statement, which did not refer to the merger.

Schofield had been on the board since 2011. Also gone are long-standing director and Hong Kong-based Canadian businessman Rick Siemens, who was appointed in 2005, and Gautam Thapar, founder of India's Avanthar Group.

A new addition is Chinese Taipei's Emmet Hsu, chairman of the Yeangder Group - sponsor of the Asian Tour's Tournament Players Championship, with a prize purse of US$500,000 (S$705,000).

Joining him is Enrique K. Razon Jr, who is chairman of Philippine container company ICTSI - the sponsor of this week's US$300,000 Philippines Open.

The other two new directors are Jimmy Masrin, president and CEO of Indonesian chemicals and mining firm PT Caturkarsa Megatunggal, and Jaturon Himathongkom, sports marketing director of Thai brewing giant Singha Corp.

Among the playing directors, only Chinese veteran Zhang Lianwei survives, with Lam Chih Bing of Singapore, Australia's Scott Barr and Thailand's Boonchu Ruangkit all out.

Lam, one of the playing directors to leave the board, said this month that he was in favour of the merger but was facing opposition from fellow players.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'Board shuffle for Asian Tour'. Print Edition | Subscribe