Oliver "Chip" Brewer has been hired as president and chief executive officer at Callaway Golf, company officials announced on Monday, ending a search that lasted more than half a year. Brewer has served as president and CEO of Adams Golf since 2002.
Brewer's appointment is effective March 5. Tony Thornley, who has served as Callaway's interim president and CEO since last June, will continue to serve on the board of directors. It is expected that Brewer will join the board when he officially comes onboard, officials said.
"Chip has extensive knowledge of all facets of the golf business, particularly in the sales and marketing area, and has a real passion for the game of golf. Chip also has great relationships with customers and others in the golf industry and he has done a great job turning around and leading Adams Golf," said Callaway Board Chairman Ronald S. Beard. “We believe he is the right leader to entrust with our valuable brands, and the board looks forward to working with him to restore profitability and increase shareholder value."
Callaway, which grew from a start-up into one of golf's major players with the development of its vaunted Big Bertha line of metalwoods, has cooled significantly in the past few years. The company recently reported a net loss of $171.8 million in 2011 following a net loss of $18.8 million in 2010. It recorded net sales of $886.5 million last year, well down from the $967.7 million it posted in 2010.
Brewer has been with Adams Golf since 1998, and is widely credited with helping grow the company from a small outfit known almost exclusively for hybrids into a much larger operation with a well-rounded line of equipment. He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the College of William and Mary and an MBA degree from Harvard University.
"Having been around golf my entire life, I know Callaway and its products very well and I am very excited about joining such an iconic company and being part of its great heritage," said Brewer. "There is a lot of opportunity ahead for Callaway and I look forward to working with the board and senior management team to build upon the strength of its brands to restore profitability and increase shareholder value."