CHONBURI, Thailand – Helen Alfredsson feels as good now about the decision to hire Mike Whan as she did four months ago. She likes the staff decisions he has already made and the working relationship he’ll have with Bill Susetka, the LPGA’s new chair of the Board of Directors. Susetka was the LPGA’s chief marketing officer for two years before former commissioner Carolyn Bivens eliminated his position. He replaces Dawn Hudson, who recently was named to the board of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.
“We felt that it was good to have a change,” Alfredsson said.
Sports Business Daily also reported that Kathy Milthorpe will return to the tour as its new chief financial officer. Milthorpe left the LPGA early in Bivens’ tenure to work for International Speedway Corp. Bivens resigned under pressure in July, and Whan took over in January.
Whan has been honest about the huge learning curve he’ll have in his new role as commissioner. That he has looked to former LPGA executives who left in the Bivens era to help him now speaks volumes about the different direction this tour is headed.
Players already are impressed with Whan’s communication skills. Everything from a memo detailing the agenda of a board meeting less than 24 hours after it ends to his prompt response to e-mails and texts. Those who do business with the LPGA feel the same.
“It’s nice to have someone who gets along with people,” Alfredsson said.
“What I really like about him he’s going to take responsibility for what he does. That’s a huge thing.”
Whan is scheduled to arrive here Thursday for the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand tournament.