Juli Inkster, Alena Sharp on search committee to replace LPGA commish; Michelle Wie West added to board

Beth Ann Nichols
·2 min read

Diane Gulyas, Chair of the LPGA Board of Directors, sent out a letter to LPGA staff, tour players and teaching professionals on Wednesday regarding next steps in the process to replace LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, who last week surprised the golf world with his decision to leave the tour in 2021.

The LPGA Board of Directors, which is made up eight LPGA members and six independent directors, will select the next commissioner. Notably, Michelle Wie West joined the Board of Directors as a player member in 2021. A search committee has been formed that will bring top candidates to the board. That committee is comprised of four LPGA members and three independent directors.

LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, Canadian veteran Alena Sharp, Tour president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman and Marvol Barnard, who is National President of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals, round out the LPGA members on the search committee.

Gulyas, who retired from a 36-year career with DuPont, heads the committee while Jon Iwata, a longtime executive at IBM, and former KPMG Global Chairman John Veihmeyer are the independent directors.

“We have outstanding candidates from within the LPGA,” Gulyas wrote, “and expect quality, diverse candidates from outside the Association who will be interested in the position.”

Inkster told Golfweek last week that it didn’t matter to her if the person who replaced Whan was a woman, saying that honesty was the trait players cared most about.

“I never thought we could replace Charlie (Meacham),” said Inkster, noting that Whan also leaves big shoes to fill.

“They’re honest, and there’s nothing phony about them. That’s what we need in a commissioner. It’s not always going to be a bed of roses and the players have to know that. I think that’s the No. 1 thing.”

The LPGA board is comprised of the following Player Directors and independent board members: President Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Lydia Ko, Pernilla Lindberg, Amy Olson, Alena Sharp, Kris Tamulis and Wie West.

Independent board members are: Diane Gulyas, Chair/Former Sr. Executive DuPont, LLC; David Fay, former executive director of the USGA; Jon Iwata, retired senior vice president and Chief Brand Officer of IBM; and Tom Schoewe, retired executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer of Walmart; Madeleine Kleiner, retired executive vice president and general counsel of Hilton Hotel Corporation; and John Veihmeyer, retired Chairman of KPMG International.

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