St Petersburg, Florida | WTA appoints new CEO – Portia Archer

The WTA has appointed NBA G League Chief Operating Officer Portia Archer as its new CEO to replace Steve Simon, who will remain in his role as WTA chairman, it was announced on Wednesday.

The WTA is an organisation I have long admired. It has pioneered the growth and development of women's professional sport around the world, and I am excited to have the opportunity to join the team as we deliver our ambitions for the Tour and write the next chapter of the WTA story. Portia Archer, newly appointed WTA CEO

Archer made history when she became the first COO of the G League, the official minor league of the National Basketball Association, a newly created position when she took over, where she was responsible for overseeing all business and commercial operations for the NBA’s development league, driving expansion as well as significant increases in fan engagement and commercial performance.

“The G League has never had a chief operating officer,” Archer told Sports Illustrated. “This role is new. So, I am the first COO, the first woman and the first Black woman.”

She will take up her new role at the WTA on 29 July.

The appointment of a new CEO allows Simon, currently both the WTA Chairman and the CEO, to assume the role of Chairman, focusing on governance and strategic development.

As CEO, Archer will lead the day-to-day strategy and operations of the Hologic WTA Tour and the WTA’s relationship with its player and tournament members.

She will work together with Simon and Marina Storti, CEO of WTA Ventures, the commercial arm of the WTA, which was established in 2023 in partnership with CVC Capital Partners, to drive the future success of the sport.

“The WTA is an organisation I have long admired,” Archer said in a statement. “It has pioneered the growth and development of women’s professional sport around the world, and I am excited to have the opportunity to join the team as we deliver our ambitions for the Tour and write the next chapter of the WTA story.”

With more than 20 years of experience in the global sports and media industries, Archer has extensive business strategy experience, having previously working at NBC Sports Group, HBO and the BBC, where she focused on the professional sports and media ecosystem in different environments driving growth and transformational success across multiple organisations.

She served as Vice President of Global Distribution and Digital during her time at HBO, expanding reach and launching digital channels in more than 15 international territories.

While at NBC Universal/NBC Sports Group, Archer led the sports rights acquisition strategy, launch and management of NBC’s first direct-to-consumer, live streaming business, and predecessor to Peacock TV.

Archer holds an MBA in Management and Finance from Columbia Business School and a BA in Public Policy and Economics from the University of Chicago.

Iga Swiatek defeated Jessica Pegula in the final of the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun in 2023, and criticised the conditions in Mexico

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

She joins as the CEO of the women’s Tour amid the controversy of hosting the WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia, the crown jewel event of the WTA, which sees the top 8 players of the year battle it out for year-end honours.

In 2023, the WTA Finals was hosted by Cancun, Mexico, but the conditions were less than ideal, with temporary courts constructed on a golf course not up to the scratch, and the weather conditions far from appropriate for an outdoor event of such stature.

This year, the WTA announced that the year-end championship will be organised in Saudi Arabia from 2024 to 2026, prompting some of the legends of the game, such as Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, to criticise the move to stage the event in the Kingdom, owing to the country’s human rights record and patriarchal laws.

The lack of equal pay at certain events with their male counterparts is also proving to be a bone of contention amongst the players on tour, while the involvement of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) as the title sponsor of the WTA rankings has not sat well with many.

There have also been reports of financial turmoil within the WTA, and increased talks about merging commercial assets with the ATP.

In December, Simon announced he would be stepping down from his position as CEO, but remaining as the organisation’s Chairman.

On Wednesday, Simon said in the WTA statement: “I am delighted to welcome Portia to the WTA. She will be a fantastic addition to our leadership team, bringing a wealth of management experience and helping to drive operational excellence across the organisation as we work together to further elevate women’s tennis for the benefit of players, fans, partners and tournaments.”

The appointment of Archer follows an extensive recruitment process led by the global executive search firm Korn Ferry, on behalf of the WTA Board of Directors.



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