The search for a new, permanent leader at Callaway Golf appears to be going global.
Callaway is led currently by Tony Thornley (right), formerly the head of QualComm and a member of Callaway's board who was appointed interim president and CEO June 29 after George Fellows resigned for personal reasons. Thornley has said in the past that he was "not taking a short-term view of this job." Still, Golf Digest learned this week that Spencer Stuart, one of the world's leading executive search firms, recently has been retained by Callaway's board to begin a search for a new, permanent chief executive officer.
According to its website, Spencer Stuart operates out of 51 offices in 27 countries. A 2009 Wall Street Journal article described Spencer Stuart as the "go-to recruiter when Uncle Sam wants bailed-out companies to install new directors and other top officials." In the article, a recruiting consultant suggested that half of all board searches by Fortune 500 companies were conducted by Spencer Stuart.
It is unclear whether Callaway's search will extend beyond the golf industry, although Fellows, a veteran of the cosmetics business and a former executive at Revlon, came to the job in 2005 with no past experience in golf. Seeking the counsel of an executive search firm with Spencer Stuart's reach certainly suggests that Callaway will at least be looking at candidates beyond its current corporate structure.