ITTF Names Steve Dainton As Group CEO
July 19, 2021
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Executive Committee has promoted Steve Dainton to the position of ITTF Group CEO in recognition of his leadership and strategic vision for the sport.
Dainton is now tasked with leading all three entities under the ITTF Group umbrella – the ITTF, which is the international governing body of Table Tennis, the ITTF Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the ITTF and World Table Tennis (WTT), the commercial and event business of the ITTF.
Since taking charge as ITTF CEO in 2017, under the guidance of the ITTF Executive Committee, the Australian, together with the ITTF workforce, started a transformation of the ITTF, developing the first-ever ITTF Strategic Plan, which was approved at the 2018 AGM.
Under Dainton’s successful direction, the ITTF’s commercial potential has flourished with the increased revenue allowing the ITTF to grow in different areas. One of them which is significant is the establishment of the ITTF Membership Relations department which has helped double investment into the sport around the world.
He also played a pivotal role in establishing the ITTF Foundation, which aims to elevate Table Tennis’s corporate and social responsibility and ensure the sport truly is for all, for life.
The crowning achievement of Dainton’s success over the past four years was the remodelling of the ITTF’s commercial rights which led to the creation of WTT, the new entity responsible for managing ITTF’s events and commercial business. Launched this year, WTT’s remit is creating a new era of professional table tennis while focusing on growing revenue for the sport and make it more appealing to fans.
Dainton’s transformation of the organisation has also resulted in:
expanding ITTF’s professional staff expertise to provide greater support to the Table Tennis family
greater transparency and professional management of finances
the creation of the ITTF Equipment department to professionalise the way ITTF manages equipment authorisations and communications with its equipment partners
developing the concept of the Home of Table Tennis project
increasing fan growth across the ITTF and WTT digital channels to over five million – one of the highest amongst all International Federations.
Outside of the transformation of the ITTF, Dainton’s tenure has been highlighted by the globally acclaimed formation of the Unified Korea Team at the 2018 World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) and the successful expansion of the ITTF World Championships which will see the 2021 WTTC being hosted for the first time in the Americas, the first time the event has been played outside Europe or Asian since 1939.
Growing the ITTF has also presented unexpected difficulties, with Dainton taking on the challenge of navigating the organisation through one of the most turbulent times in its long history – the COVID-19 pandemic.
Swift financial management decisions during the height of the pandemic were taken to ensure the ITTF remain economically stable in case events and activities were not possible in 2020.
Due to these prudent and decisive measures under Dainton’s charge, and the successful series of #Restart events inside China, hosted with the support of CTTA, the ITTF was able to announce a 2020 financial result much less impacted if comparing with other Olympic International Federations.
“After three years of initial growth based around our first-ever strategic plan and then managing throughout the crisis, the past 18 months has been hugely exciting and quite often positively challenging. To continue the journey is an honour. Ensuring everything we do is in the best interest of table tennis is something that I will continue to passionately pursue”.
“Our sport has so much potential and on the global level can continue post-COVID-19 to grow exponentially, its especially important that we continue to find ways to increase the prize money for our players, which has been the main drive of our commercial approach. I wholeheartedly believe we are still only just scratching the surface and with a united approach our sport can be truly one of the biggest in the world,” said Dainton.
Petra Sörling ITTF Executive Vice-President of Finance said: “The new contract and title signify the full support Dainton has from the ITTF Executive Committee, reflecting our satisfaction with his achievements and vision for the sport over the last 4 years.”