Ivan Khodabakhsh is the incoming CEO of the LETGiven the caddie punch-up at this week’s Australian Open, the Ladies European Tour appears to have picked up on the pugilistic theme when appointing its new CEO.

Ivan Khodabakhsh, who was heavily featured in a Newsnight investigation into alleged corruption in boxing ahead of the summer Olympic Games in London, will take over from Alexandra Armas as Chief Executive Officer in January next year.

According to the LET release, Khodabakhsh is currently CEO of World Series Boxing based in Switzerland and prior to that was Event Director at the European Athletic Association.  

If his quotes are even half as entertaining as one of his answers to Newsnight in a 2011 programme, it could be a promising appointment and surely worthy of more razzmatazz than a late Friday afternoon news release.

The New Yorker featured an entertaining piece on the entire affair (Azerbaijan ended up with a couple of bronze medals) in August and this gem stood out:

Last year, Anna Adams, a reporter for BBC’s “Newsnight,” spoke with Ivan Khodabakhsh, the C.E.O. of the World Series of Boxing….

“You promised Azerbaijan two gold medals at London 2012 in exchange for ten million dollars,” she said.

Khodabakhsh’s indignant response was a classic of the form. “First of all, no comment,” he said. “Secondly, absolutely a lie.”

He certainly faces a challenge marketing the Ladies European Tour in the middle of a serious economic crisis. The LET sounded excited about the appointment of what was obviously the outstanding candidate among “over 100 applicants” with Chairperson, Karen Lunn stating:
“Ivan was the unanimous choice of the Board from over 100 applicants for the role and we believe his vision, commercial expertise and experience in a number of sports will prove to be a huge asset as we look to further enhance the opportunities for our playing members.
As for the new boss, he’s looking forward to the return of golf to the 2016 Olympics.
Ivan Khodabakhsh: “I am really thrilled to be appointed and excited by the challenge of growing the tour in a number of areas that will benefit the players, sponsors and engage fans of women’s golf. There is huge potential for growth in women’s golf, especially considering the inclusion of the sport in the Olympic programme.”