(ATR) For the first time in 17 years the International Paralympic Committee will be searching for a new chief executive officer.
Xavier Gonzalez (Lima 2019)
Xavier Gonzalez announced that he is stepping away from the organization on March 22, as it “[embarks] on a new strategic direction”.
Gonzalez joined the IPC in 2002 as Games Liaison Director, before being named interim chief executive. He assumed the CEO role full time in 2004, and has overseen eight Paralympic Games since his start at the IPC.
One of the first strategic endeavors Gonzalez completed was signing a financial and marketing agreement with the IOC in 2003. Last year, the two organizations renegotiated the agreement keeping it in place through 2032.
Gonzalez says he was going to step down in 2021, but after a discussion with the IPC’s board of directors “it became clear that now is the right time for a change of leadership” after it became clear his strategic goals for the organization had been met.
Mike Peters, current chief operating officer of the IPC, will take over as interim chief executive immediately upon Gonzalez’s departure.
“The level of media and broadcast coverage they now secure, as well as the commercial support within the Movement, really is a far cry from what it used to be,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “It’s also amazing to see the size and global reach of the IPC and Paralympic Games now compared to when I joined when we had no money and employed just a handful of people.
“I leave the IPC in a very strong position and well equipped for its next stage of development. I wish the team under the interim leadership of Mike Peters all the very best for the future.”
The IPC said that when Gonzalez arrived the organization employed fewer than 10 employees and “on the brink of bankruptcy”. Now, the organization employs 115 people, and is moving into a new headquarters in Bonn in 2020 to accommodate the growth.
Gonzalez also helped establish the IPC’s Agitos Foundation and worked to bring 10 Para Sports Federations under the administration of the IPC.
“There are few words that can properly do justice to the impact Xavier has had on the IPC and the Paralympic Movement,” Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said in a statement.
“Under his leadership, he has done an outstanding job, effectively building the IPC from a start-up to a globally well-respected sports organization.
“The IPC Governing Board will always be grateful to his contribution in progressing the Paralympic Movement. Xavier will continue to support the IPC with the delivery of the Paralympic Games until 2020 and we are working on the best ways of facilitating this.”
Written by Aaron Bauer
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