CARLSBAD —- Callaway Golf Co. said Monday its board of directors has appointed Chip Brewer as president and CEO. Brewer, the former CEO of Adams Golf, takes over on March 5.
Brewer replaces Tony Thornley, who has served as interim president and CEO since June 2011. Thornley will continue to serve on Callaway’s board of directors, the company said in a press release.
Brewer is “one of the most qualified candidates to run Callaway, and enhances what we believe is a budding turnaround story,” wrote golf industry analyst Casey Alexander in an email to clients.
“In Chip’s tenure at Adams, Adams was able to consistently build market share,” Alexander wrote. “We believe this is the primary task at Callaway as well. We believe this hire should be very well received by the market.”
Brewer has been with Plano, Texas-based Adams Golf since 1998, serving as president and CEO since 2002. He and his family will move to the San Diego area, Callaway said.
“After a very thorough search, we believe that we have selected the ideal candidate to lead us through the next chapter at Callaway,” said board chairman Ronald S. Beard in the Callaway news release. “Chip has extensive knowledge of all facets of the golf business, particularly in the sales and marketing area, and has a real passion for the game of golf.”
Search for a leader
Callaway has come up short in its quest for a long-term leader ever since the departure of its eponymous founder, Ely Reeves Callaway. Callaway resigned in 2001 shortly before his death that July at age 82. A Georgia native, Callaway was known in three industries as an exceptionally skilled businessman with a flair for marketing.
Callaway made his mark as president of Greensboro, N.C.-based textile maker Burlington Industries. In the late 1960s, he moved to the Temecula area, founding Callaway Vineyard and Winery. He sold the winery to Hiram Walker in 1981, then bought a golf company named Hickory Sticks. That company became Callaway Golf.
Under Callaway’s direction, Callaway Golf grew from a four-man company into a multibillion-dollar corporation that generated $840 million in sales in 2000, and approached a cumulative $6 billion in sales of golf clubs.
Ron Drapeau took over from Callaway as chairman and CEO in May 2001. Drapeau served until August 2004, as the company battled slumping sales and market share. Patrice Hutin, president and chief operating officer, resigned in November 2004.
Board member William C. Baker served as interim chairman and CEO until Fellows was hired in August 2005 as president and CEO.
Fellows left Callaway in June 2011.
Shares of Callaway traded late Tuesday morning at $6.73 each, up 22 cents for the day.
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