LPGA Hires Bivens as Next Commissioner

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., June 16, 2005 ' Carolyn Vesper Bivens has been named commissioner-elect of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and will become the first female and only seventh commissioner in the organizations 55-year history when she assumes the role next month. Bivens, 52, is currently president and chief operating officer of Initiative Media North America, the largest media services company in the United States and part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.
 
Carolyn Vesper Bivens
Carolyn Vesper Bivens will become the LPGA Tour's seventh commissioner.
She was unanimously elected by the LPGA Board of Directors, which had formed a search committee in January to work in concert with Heidrick & Struggles, a global executive recruiting firm. Current LPGA Commissioner Ty M. Votaw announced his resignation on Jan. 7 but will remain with the LPGA to ensure an orderly leadership transition.

The LPGA is experiencing tremendous growth and success, and the organization is very pleased to have unanimously identified a proven, dynamic leader who will continue to build on this unparalleled momentum, as well as create new and prosperous opportunities for the LPGA, said Rae Forker Evans, chairwoman of the LPGA Board of Directors and co-chair of the commissioner search committee. Over the past several months, we have undergone an intense and thorough search for the best candidate to lead the LPGA, and through the unprecedented interest by hundreds of applicants, Carolyn was the obvious choice for all involved in the process. Given her impressive background as a consummate senior business executive in sales, media, television and business, she is uniquely qualified to bring the LPGA unmatched success.

Becoming commissioner of the LPGA, one of the most successful, recognizable and well-respected sports organizations in the world, is truly one of the highest honors of my professional life, said Bivens. I have long considered the commissionership as a top career aspiration and am thrilled about the opportunity to work with the some of the most extraordinary athletes and golf professionals in the world to continue the organizations upward momentum.
 
Bivens joined Initiative Media North America, at the time a burgeoning media consulting firm, in June 2000 as managing director of its western region. One year later, she was tapped as its president and chief operating officer for North America.
 
Prior to joining Initiative Media North America, Bivens enjoyed an 18-year career with USA Today. She joined in 1982 as part of the original launch team, and subsequently held various roles including Director of National Sales, Vice President of National Circulation Sales, and for nine years, Senior Vice President and Associate Publisher. Bivens career began at Xerox Corporation where she served in various sales and marketing positions.

I am confident that Carolyn will be an invaluable asset to the LPGA as commissioner, said Votaw. As Ive said numerous times throughout the process, I believe the LPGAs foundation is the strongest it has ever been in its 55-year history, and Carolyns background, relationships and proven business savvy will most certainly encourage continued growth and realization of the LPGAs full potential.
 
Bivens currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bill. She plans to transition to Daytona Beach, Fla., over the coming months and will assume the duties of commissioner-elect by the end of July.
 
Bivens becomes the seventh commissioner in the LPGAs 55-year history. Her predecessors are: Ray Volpe, 1975-82; John D. Laupheimer, 1982-88; William A. Blue, 1988-90; Charlie S. Mechem Jr., 1991-95; Jim Ritts, 1996-99; and Votaw, 1999-present.