When Callaway Golf began its search for a new CEO after the resignation of George Fellows last June, a company spokesman said, "We feel that a passion for the game is a valuable characteristic."
Callaway landed a passionate golfer when it announced Chip Brewer would take over as Callaway CEO effective March 5. Brewer, a low single-digit handicap, comes to Callaway after 14 years at Adams Golf, the last 10 as president and CEO. In related moves, Barney Adams was named interim CEO of Adams Golf and Tony Thornley, who served as interim CEO of Callaway, will remain on the company's board of directors.
Brewer possesses other attributes desirable to Callaway, including the ability to keep costs under control and being the CEO of a publicly traded company--both of which he did while at Adams. Brewer's hiring comes after an extensive, global search that included "a review of over 50 candidates."
Brewer brings other attributes that may help him in his new role. He has early career experience working in Asia, and has helped bring Adams through some difficult years in the first few years of his tenure as president and CEO at Adams. He also has a reputation for investing heavily in the R&D side of the operation at Adams, while smartly investing a marketing budget that is distinctly more limited than the one he now inherits.
Brewer faces some challenges in taking over Callaway. The company's stock closed at $6.51 a share the day of Brewer's appointment (Feb. 27), more than 50 percent off the $13.64 share price when Fellows took over in 2005, and about a third of the $19.25 mark it reached in July 2007--the highest it reached in Fellows' six years at Callaway. Still, Brewer sounded ready for the task.
"I know Callaway and its products very well and I am excited about joining such an iconic company," Brewer said in a press release. "There is a lot of opportunity ahead."
--E. Michael Johnson, with Mike Stachura