23-Year Golf Veteran to Lead the Palmer Family of Businesses
ORLANDO, Sept. 26, 2018 – The Arnold Palmer organization today announced the appointment of Jon Podany as President of Arnold Palmer’s charitable foundation, Arnie’s Army, and Chief Executive Officer of Arnold Palmer Enterprises. Podany joins the Palmer organization after eight years at the LPGA, most recently having served as its Chief Commercial Officer. He will begin his new position on October 15, 2018.
“This is an exciting time for the Arnold Palmer organization,” said Amy Palmer Saunders, chairwoman. “My father would be so pleased that the diverse companies he built alongside a dedicated team will be led by a person of great capability and character. Jon’s passion for the game of golf and the depth of his industry experience made him the clear choice to advance the Palmer family of businesses. Our team additionally recognized that his thoughtful leadership is sure to exponentially accelerate the charitable activities which meant so much to my mom and dad.”
“I am incredibly honored and excited to be joining the Arnold Palmer organization, which represents the very best the game has to offer in so many ways,” said Podany. “Like so many others who have had the good fortune to work in the golf industry, I owe so much to Arnold Palmer and his family, both on and off the course. I am grateful to Amy Saunders and the Board for selecting me to lead the efforts to carry forward Arnold and Winnie Palmer’s legacy; and importantly, their values and spirit of giving, which has had and will continue to have such a positive impact on the game and society. I have previously been blessed to work for two great golf organizations, the PGA TOUR and LPGA, and I look forward to being able to continue to collaborate with those organizations in this new role.”
In his role as President and CEO, Podany will oversee “Arnie’s Army” – the charitable foundation of Arnold and Winnie Palmer – and all aspects of the multiple businesses comprising Arnold Palmer Enterprises. His leadership will be an integral part of extending the Palmer legacy for future generations, through marquee events, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, the Arnold Palmer Cup, and businesses including the Arnold Palmer Design Company and the two Arnold Palmer properties - The Bay Hill Club and Lodge and the Latrobe Country Club.
Podany joined the LPGA in early 2010 as Mike Whan’s first big hire shortly after Mike took over as Commissioner. Together, along with the capable team they built, they have transformed the LPGA, driving it to historic heights. The number of tournaments has grown from 23 to 33 with prize money increasing from $40 million to nearly $70 million, and the overall global television audience has surged to around 500 million. Jon has been responsible for all commercial aspects of the business, including tournaments, television/digital, sponsorship, sales and marketing, licensing and branding; and during his tenure, revenues have grown 88 percent.
Before joining the LPGA Tour, Podany spent 15 years at the PGA TOUR, serving as Senior Vice President of Business Development. His primary responsibility was the identification of new sponsors across the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour and the management of existing PGA TOUR title sponsor relationships. Working on more than 70 corporate partnership agreements and renewals at the PGA TOUR, Podany also helped lead development of a number of key initiatives. These included the award-winning “These Guys are Good,” campaign, “Giving Back – The Heart of PGA TOUR” charitable program, Champions Tour 25th Anniversary and the ShotLink scoring and statistical system.
He joined the PGA TOUR in 1995 as Director, Business Development, and was promoted to Vice President, Business Development two years later, at the time the youngest Vice President at the Tour. While serving as Senior Vice President, Brand Development and Marketing Services from 2003-2005, Podany was cited twice by the Sports Business Journal as one of the most prominent young executives in sports, earning their “Forty Under 40 Award.”
Podany started his career in 1987 at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a cost analyst, transferred from Finance to Brand Management, and eventually worked his way up to Brand Manager.
Podany, 53, is a graduate of Miami (OH) University with a degree in business with a concentration in finance and for the past five years he has served on the university’s Athletic Advisory Board. He has also been a member of the Golf 20/20 (now We Are Golf) Board for the past four years. He and his wife, Julie, have three grown daughters.
About Arnold Palmer Enterprises
In the 1960’s, Arnold Palmer pioneered the sports marketing industry. Palmer’s timeless style, his famous signature and four-color umbrella icon have transcended the sport of golf and are reflective of one of the world’s most beloved brands. Built on over a half-century of trust and integrity, Arnold Palmer Enterprises is a global organization that has licensees for lifestyle apparel, accessories and home furnishings that purvey branded collections in territories around the world. The Arnold Palmer name is featured on a broad range of other consumer products including the eponymous iced tea and lemonade beverage as well as properties such as a namesake PGA TOUR event, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Latrobe Country Club and a global golf course design firm. For more information on Arnold Palmer Enterprises, visit ArnoldPalmerEnterprises.com.
About Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation
Arnold Palmer’s go-for-broke style of golf endeared him to legions of fans, who became known as “Arnie’s Army.” Off the course, alongside his wife of nearly 50 years, Winnie, Mr. Palmer encouraged fans to rally behind causes and ideals which transcended golf. Their philanthropic work changed lives. Today, led by Palmer family members and strategic advisors, the Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation champions a “Life Well Played” by investing in: Healthy Kids, Youth Development and Nature-Focused Wellness. For more information, or to join Arnie’s Army, please visit ArniesArmy.org.