Tom Olsavsky, senior director of product creation at TaylorMade, will replace Tom Preece as the vice president of research and development for Cobra-Puma Golf.
Olsavsky, 49, spent 17 years at TaylorMade, the last seven in his current role. Many in the industry consider Olsavsky to be a big part of TaylorMade’s recent success, which includes record sales of $1.7 billion and a 47 percent market share in the metalwood category in 2012.
According to sources close to the matter, Olsavsky’s signing is considered a “big win” by top Cobra-Puma officials, who have struggled to establish Cobra as a true rival to larger golf equipment companies such as TaylorMade, Callaway, Nike, Ping and Titleist, whose parent company Acushnet sold Cobra to Puma SE in March 2010.
“Tom is a great industry talent and we look forward to him continuing Cobra Golf’s innovation of the game,” said Bob Philion, president of Cobra-Puma Golf in a statement. “His wealth of experience, industry knowledge and exceptional success will help us to continue our development of industry leading technologies. I’m confident that Tom will play a key role in our business growth and provide a great future for Cobra Golf.”
Preece decided to leave Cobra-Puma in September after spending almost 10 years with the company. He is currently listed as the Senior Vice President of R&D at BST Nano Carbon, a company based in Rancho Bernardo, Calif. that specializes in designing and manufacturing products from carbon nano tube materials. According to sources, Preece will stay on with Cobra-Puma as a consultant through the end of the year. Olsavsky is scheduled to begin his duties with Cobra-Puma on Oct. 31.
TaylorMade has chosen Brian Bazzel, who has 14 years of experience with the company, to fill Olsavsky’s post as senior director of product creation for metal woods. Bazzel previously worked as the director of product creation for irons, wedges and putters, a role that will be filled by Tomo Bystedt, who most recently oversaw TaylorMade’s Asian product and marketing operation.
“Tom Olsavsky was part of the TaylorMade family for the better part of 15 years,” said Sean Toulon, TaylorMade’s executive vice president, in a statement. “As individuals, and as an organization, we wish Tom the best of luck in his new endeavor. He will be missed. With that said, TaylorMade’s R&D will continue to operate under the expert leadership of Benoit Vincent, who has overseen every meaningful innovation TaylorMade has produced in the past decade. Our product creation team also consists of a very deep bench.”