Executive Stories

Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.

Executive Spotlight - June 9, 2003

Larry Scott


CEO, Women's Tennis Association


Larry Scott was named Commissioner, Pac-10, Larry Scott in 2009. His successor was his #2, Stacey Allaster.

My 14-year old son is mesmerized by "To Kill a Mockingbird." It's all about courage. His favorite line,

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." Harper Lee (1926 - )

If the past is any predictor of the future, then Larry Scott will have a very long career as Chief Executive Officer of the Women's Tennis Association. He has courage.

Years ago, a major consulting firm was hired to help decide whether it would be cost efficient to merge the Ski Areas Association with the ski manufacturer's trade association. Both had separate marketing staffs to promote the sport of skiing, and coincidentally, the Executive Director of the Ski Areas Association was retiring.

After an exhaustive study, the consulting firm concluded that there were some efficiencies, and the merged board of directors decided to conduct a search for a new leader of the merged association. The "insider," David Ingemie, who had headed the ski manufacturer's trade association interviewed for the job. In that interview, he showed courage. Not only to apply for the job he just had. But he did so with conviction and he faced his detractors - many of whom were on the board of the alternative association - the Ski Areas Association. And he faced them head-on calling them, asking for their support, and trying to build a rapport for his role as their new CEO of this merged association. I even put him in the middle of the interview schedule. It's tough to win from the middle. But his confidence, his courage - to face his detractors head on - was a successful move, and David got the job. Interestingly enough, years later, the two associations split again, and David retained his title of CEO of the ski and snowboard manufacturers association.

Larry Scott demonstrated he could do the same. Larry demonstrated courage. Larry Scott was a former professional player on the men's tour, even became a member of the ATP Tour's board of directors, the board of the men's professional tennis players association. He eventually rose to a position of Chief Operating Officer. And you know the men and women are always competing against each other for money, television, sponsors and publicity.

When the Women's Tennis Association conducted their new search for a CEO this past spring, Larry made the short list. After his interview, the search committee advised him that he did such a good job he may be considered a leading candidate. But before presenting him to their board, they needed to "check him out." It's at that time, the COO of the ATP Tour demonstrated his ability to build consensus.

Much like David Ingemie, Larry went straight to people he thought might have an issue with his candidacy for the position. He flew here; he flew there. He had meetings in the U.S., in Europe - wherever his detractors were, he went to visit them. This surprised many on the search committee. But Larry was demonstrating, perhaps not only to the search committee, but also to himself, whether he could draw together diverging views and have them follow his lead. And that he did. On March 31, 2003, Larry Scott was named by the board of directors of the Women's Tennis Association the new Chair and CEO.

Larry showed me courage. Let's hope he follows the wisdom of one of our Presidents, John Quincy Adams:

"Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air."

With that, it is not surprising in his press conference, Larry said, "The sport can only reach its true potential if all the governing bodies are working in greater harmony." Let Larry's courage to face issues head on lead the way for a better WTA!

- Buffy Filippell


"I am personally confident that under Larry's stewardship the Tour will ultimately be able to accomplish its goals which include building the brand and commercializing it in a way that profits all of our constituents."

--Dave Larson, VP Marketing/Communications


What I do...

Larry is in charge of the Women's Tennis Association. WTA Tour, Inc is the governing body of the women's professional tennis circuit. Larry serves as the leader and catalyst for creating a shared vision and business plan -- one that will build a strong staff, develop a positive corporate culture, leverage the worldwide sales/marketing, promotional and television opportunities for the women's professional tennis Tour. The CEO must also provide leadership for the governance of the Tour and serve as its spokesperson both within the tennis community and for the public at large. He or she is responsible for managing player, tournament, ITF, Grand Slam, sponsor and television relations by keeping a balanced perspective on the varying interests and opportunities.

HOW I GOT HERE...

WTA; St. Petersburg, FL; 2003-present
Chair and CEO

ATP Tour; London/Ponte Vedra, FL; 1992-2003
Chief Operating Officer
Executive Vice President

Volvo Tennis Tournament; New Haven, CT; 1989-1992
Consultant

Professional Player; 1986-1989

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