An ex-consultant leads the Board of Grand Slam tournaments

01 March 2021 2 min. read
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Ugo Valensi, a media professional with prior experience at EY and Kearney, has been named Executive Director of the Grand Slam Board – coordinators of the four most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world.

Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open are not only displays of the best tennis in the world, but are also hallmarks of evolution in global sporting events – with new fan experiences and overall improvement each year.

Now overseeing this progress is Ugo Valensi – a Frenchman with more than 15 years of experience in the marketing and media space. He spent half a decade at the start of his career at Big Four accounting and advisory firm EY, making his way up to manager at the firm’s telecom & media practice.

Ugo Valensi - Executive Director of the Grand Slam Board

He then broke off to do an MBA at INSEAD, following which he joined management consultancy Kearney as a consultant – delivering strategy, organisation and commercial performance improvement for clients across Europe and Asia. 

In 2011, Valensi joined sporting entertainment group Lagardère Sports as a executive Vice President for strategy, taking over as chief operating officer five years later. By 2019, he had made his way up to CEO – a role that he now vacates to join the Grand Slam Board.

“We are delighted by this appointment of an individual with Ugo’s skills and experience. Ugo will greatly assist the Grand Slams to continue to deliver on our responsibility as the sport’s premier tournaments,” noted the Grand Slam chairs.

Valensi described the move as an “honour and privilege,” and expressed being “thrilled about this unique opportunity. Come March 1st Valensi steers Grand Slam tournaments through a period of unprecedented change, as any major sporting event is viewed as infection risks.

Grand Slams chalk up over a €1 billion in revenues in any year, although the absence of spectators at the coming three tournaments will likely erode these numbers. Organisers will draw inspiration from the Australian Open 2021, which saw a near normal return of fans and the much loved tennis atmosphere.

For Valensi, the road ahead presents a unique challenge. “I look forward to working with the Grand Slam teams, all tennis communities and stakeholders and to contributing to the future direction of the Grand Slams.”