YASH OUT AT CALLAWAY: Veteran golf industry executive Chuck Yash is leaving Callaway Golf, the company announced today. Yash, who came to Callaway in 1996 to develop the companys golf ball business, built his career in high-level positions with Spalding Sports Worldwide and Taylor Made. Once the golf ball business was up and running, Yash was appointed to run a special Grow the Game initiative within Callaway.
Some industry observers said that appointment was an exile, punishment for manufacturing glitches that came up early in the life of Callaways golf ball business. Neither Yash nor Callaway officials would confirm that, but Yash had no trouble with shouldering the blame for those problems.
Well, sure. I was the president [of the ball operation], Yash said by phone today from his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., near San Diego. I was responsible for whatever happened. Thats the way it should be. Thats one of the first things you learn at the academy.
Yash meant the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, from which he graduated before embarking on a shipboard career that included service on a minesweeper.
Back in the private sector, Yash rose quickly to prominence in golf. He developed a reputation for a sharp mind that grasped marketing and technical disciplines equally well.
That acumen attracted Callaway, which had decided to build its ball operation from the ground up instead of outsourcing. When Yash joined Callaway, observers agreed he was one of a very small set of people in the industry who could do the job.
Succession had always been an issue for Callaway, especially because Ely Callaway, who was 76 when Yash came aboard, was the companys most 'effective ' and oldest ' pitchman in the financial community. In 2000, Mr. Callaway announced that he would retire no later than December 31, and that Yash would succeed him.
But before the deadline, Mr. Callaway changed his mind. It was then that Yash was reassigned to the Grow the Game project. And when an extended recovery from gall bladder surgery and possible pancreatic cancer sidelined Mr. Callaway this April, the company chose Ron Drapeau to take over as president and CEO. That left Yash in a sort of no-mans land, said many in the industry. And the normally reticent Yash admits some disappointment.
Youd be a fool to say youre not disappointed, Yash said. Its one of the best jobs in the world. Rons a lucky guy, and Im sure hell do a great job.
A non-compete agreement prohibits Yash from taking another golf industry position in the near future; neither Yash nor Callaway will reveal for how long. Yash plans to take some time off, enjoy his family, and review options both in and out of golf, he says.
The phone hasnt rung yet, Yash said. People are being really respectful. And having worked for three of the top companies in golf, there arent that many calls to expect.
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