ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Women’s Tennis Association says Canadian Stacey Allaster is leaving next month as chief executive.
Her departure takes effect Oct. 2. The governing body said Tuesday its board is leading a search for a successor. No timetable was announced for filling the job.
Allaster cites a change in priorities, calling the 2013 death of brother-in-law and ATP CEO Brad Drewett a “personal wake-up call.”
The native of Welland, Ont., was proud to represent not just women in sports, but also Canada.
“I’m the only Canadian, I think, who is running an international sport worldwide and the only woman running a major professional sport worldwide,” Allaster told The Canadian Press. “Certainly aware of it and it comes with great responsibility to insure that I’m successful for the WTA but also for Canadians and for women who are looking to be successful in this industry.”
She joined the WTA in 2006 as its president and in 2009 was promoted to chair and CEO. The 52-year-old Canadian says in a statement it has been a “privilege to lead the organization that Billie Jean King founded.” King calls her a “visionary leader for tennis this past decade.”
Allaster was instrumental in securing equal prize money for women at six WTA tournaments and all four Grand Slams. She also played a key role in streamlining the WTA calendar and securing a landmark international media agreement.
“So much to be proud of together with my team,” said Allaster. “We did a billion dollars in contracted revenues in five years, during one of the worst economies, for women’s sport. Prize money has doubled.”
Although she’s proud of her accomplishments, Allaster feels there’s more work to be done even as she prepares to step down from the WTA.
“We have come a long way in our society for the advancement of equality and women’s rights, equal pay,” said Allaster. “The USTA awarded equal prize money in 1973, but think about that we didn’t get equal prize money until 2007 at Wimbledon, Roland Garros.
“I think that is unfortunately a reflection of society. We still live in a world of inequality in many areas of our society.”
The Associated Press