The PGA of Australia has made changes to its board with long-term director James Erskine stepping down after a significant contribution to the Board of Directors.
Erskine will be replaced by former Coca-Cola Amatil boss Alison Watkins, who is the second woman to join the PGA of Australia board, while Ian Baker-Finch has been elected Deputy-Chair.
Baker-Finch will play a support role in global relations and has been identified as the successor to Chair Rodger Davis who will see out his second three-year term as chair in May, 2024.
During his time on the board as an independent director, Erskine helped PGA member directors navigate through a period of significant change in golf following a change of Chief Executives in his first year in 2010, through to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent resurgence in the game.
PGA of Australia Chair Rodger Davis honoured Erskine for his contribution to the game of golf whilst on the PGA board.
“James’ expertise in event management, commercial partnerships and in particular broadcast has been invaluable to the PGA of Australia,” he said.
“James has also been and remains an advocate for collaboration in the golf industry, reflective in the advancements in relationships locally with Golf Australia and the WPGA Tour of Australasia, but also internationally as the PGA of Australia has begun its second five-year term of a strategic alliance with the DP World Tour and a thriving relationship with the PGA TOUR.”
Erskine said he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the game.
“It was a privilege to serve on the PGA board, and it’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 12 years since Craig Parry and Peter O’Malley approached me about the role,” Erskine said.
“I’ve loved golf since I was five-years old as a member of Royal Birkdale, and I hope that the PGA of Australia is in better shape than it was when I started. If I’ve been part of that achievement, it’s all been worthwhile.
“Historically, Australia has punched way above its weight in professional golf and continues to do so following the recent success of Cam Smith and Minjee Lee, and I’m sure golf in this country will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Erskine’s successor, Watkins, brings an abundance of commercial experience having served as Group Managing Director at Coca-Cola Amatil, Chief Executive Officer of ASX listed agribusiness GrainCorp Limited, CEO of Berri Limited and Managing Director of Regional Banking at ANZ.
Having previously held non-executive director roles at ANZ Banking Group Limited, Woolworths Limited and Just Group Limited, Watkins is currently a member of the Reserve Bank of Australia Board, a non-executive Director of CSL Limited and Wesfarmers Limited, Chancellor of the University of Tasmania and a director of The Centre of Independent Studies.
Davis said the directors were excited to welcome the exceptional business experience of Watkins to the PGA of Australia board in such an exciting time for golf, and spoke highly of Baker-Finch’s appointment.
“Alison is a fantastic addition to our board with brilliant leadership experience that has grown across a variety of industries, and we can’t wait for her to contribute to the growth of golf in Australasia to ultimately benefit our 2,000 plus members,” he said.
“Ian is one of the most respected figures in Australian golf, his passion for the sport is second to none and we are pleased that he will be using his talents to continue to grow the PGA of Australia.
“Ian will have a renewed focus on supporting our international golf relationships as we continue to play a critical role in golf’s global eco-system, and by being elected to the Deputy-Chair role, this experience will hold him in good stead should he wish to stand for Chair at the appropriate time.”
Stephen Hutchison will continue in his role as Chair of the Vocational Members Council, while Rodger Davis will continue as Chair of the Tournament Players Council.
PGA of Australia Board: Rodger Davis (Chair), Ian Baker-Finch (Deputy-Chair), Alison Watkins, Carole Brownlee, Josh Madden, Paul Lappin, Richard Lazar, Stephen Hutchison.