By Tony Jimenez
LONDON (Reuters) - Keith Pelley's appointment as European Tour chief executive in succession to George O'Grady Has been welcomed by Tournament Players Committee chairman Thomas Bjorn.
Bjorn, a member of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team in Scotland in September, has already spoken to the 51-year-old Pelley at length and is impressed by the president of Canadian conglomerate Rogers Media.
"I know the passion and commitment he will bring to the role as the tour moves forward," the Dane said in a news release on Friday. "You only need to look at what he has achieved in sports and business to date to see that his record speaks for itself.
"I would also like to place on record how impressed I have been with the process put in place by the board of the European Tour to select our new chief executive," added Bjorn.
"The nominations committee... handled the process in a professional and exemplary fashion and shows precisely the trust the players have in the board."
At Rogers Media, Pelley has been responsible for 51 radio stations, 56 publications, 12 national TV stations plus 42 local stations and 300 digital properties as well as the Toronto Blue Jays, Canada's only Major League Baseball team.
He also helped orchestrate the largest sports rights deal in Canadian history, the first of its kind worldwide, with the acquisition of a $5.2 billion National Hockey League deal for 12 years to include all media platforms.
The Canadian was the unanimous choice to replace O'Grady who announced last year his intention to step down in order to take over as the tour's president of international relations.
"Keith's proven track record, extensive experience and outstanding leadership skills in sport and media will be invaluable as we continue to further develop our strategy," said tour chairman David Williams.
"He knows the game, respects its history and I have no doubt he will bring an innovative approach to the development of the European Tour on the global stage."
(Editing by Ken Ferris)