Blane Dodds has resigned as CEO of Scottish Golf to take over at the helm of Tennis Scotland.
Dodds had been in the post for just over a year, having succeeded Hamish Grey after he stepped down soon after Scottish Golf was created through an amalgamation of the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association.
He recently unveiled a new strategic plan for the governing body in the face of Sportscotland funding being slashed and sponsorship income decreasing.
That plan involves a proposal to more than double the Scottish Golf affiliation fee - raising it from £11.25 to £24 - which is paid by every club member.
It is due to be put to a vote at a special general meeting at the beginning of December.
Dodds, who was previously CEO of North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd, retained his position as Chair of Tennis Scotland during his time with Scottish Golf.
“I would like to thank the Board and staff for their dedication and unwavering support during my time with Scottish Golf,” said Dodds.
“I leave with a heavy heart after the progress made to date on our modernisation programme and especially given the significant work under way to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the game via the four-year strategic plan.
“However, the opportunity to lead Tennis Scotland as a former player was the one job that I could not turn down.
“I relish the opportunity to develop and deliver the strategy and what is required.
“There have been huge steps forward for tennis over the last year most notably the establishment of the new £15million Facility Fund thanks to sportscotland and the LTA.
“I look forward very much to working with the team and partners in building the future and delivering the Murray legacy for all to benefit from.”
Eleanor Cannon, the Scottish Golf chair, will assume an executive leadership position on an interim basis with immediate effect, with Dodds assisting handover over the coming weeks.
“We are disappointed that Blane is leaving Scottish Golf and thank him for his efforts in leading our modernisation programme. We wish him well for the future,” said Cannon.
“The timing of this decision is unfortunate, but we acknowledge Blane’s long association with tennis in Scotland and the emotional pull it has on a former internationalist.
“However, the Board of Scottish Golf remains unanimously committed to its core strategic objective, which is to deliver significant investment to the game and provide a sustainable future for it – at a time when the Government is significantly reducing its contribution to the game.
“We will continue to engage with and listen carefully to golfers and clubs over the coming weeks, to underline our belief that by making a relatively small personal investment in the game, golfers can help strengthen the foundations of this great sport and better serve future generations of golfers and visitors to Scotland.
“We acknowledge the concerns of some people and clubs around the detail of our proposals and will obviously reflect carefully on all of the views we are hearing prior to finalising what goes to the SGM by the start of November. Our desire is to continue to consult and build as much consensus as we can around the future of golf in Scotland.”
Dodds will start his new role with Tennis Scotland in 3 January, it was confirmed in a statement by that organisation.
David Mazzucco, President of Tennis Scotland, said: “It is with great pleasure we announce this news for Tennis Scotland.
“There is a great team developing at Tennis Scotland and Blane has been very much a leading part of that over the last year and a half. The Board, staff and partners have been developing a new strategy over the last year and we look forward to delivering these plans with Blane leading and developing the team on the ground.”
Leon Smith, Board Member of Tennis Scotland and GB Davis Cup captain, added: “We are all delighted with this appointment.
“Blane has led the Board in a voluntary capacity for the last year and a half and during that time there have been many improvements and developments for our game.
“Most notably the £15m new facility fund, and Colin Fleming a former World No 17 ATP Doubles player and fellow Scot recruited as National Coach among two notable progressions. “Blane has demonstrated his passion for tennis and his commitment and abilities to deliver positive change will be a major asset moving forward in his new capacity as CEO.”
David Gregson, Chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association, commented: “I am delighted that we now have a leader of Blane’s quality to drive forward Tennis in Scotland, particularly at a time when Andy and Jamie Murray, and Gordon Reid, have been taking interest in tennis across the UK to new heights.
“I am sure that Blane, as CEO, will make a lasting difference to Scottish tennis, building on the foundations of his significant contribution as Chair.”