Since the company’s inception in 1959, Ping has been a family-run business. A recent announcement by the company indicates that won’t be changing in the near future. John K. Solheim, the oldest son of Ping chairman and CEO John A. Solheim, and grandson of company founder Karsten Solheim, has been tabbed to become company president upon the retirement of Doug Hawken on Jan. 1, 2017.
“[John K.] has been preparing for this role for the last several years, and he’s ready to take the next step,” said John A. Solheim of his eldest son. “Together with the other third-generation family members, and our strong teams throughout the organization, I’m confident John K. will continue to advance our primary goal of engineering innovative, performance-based products of the highest quality while providing unmatched levels of service.”
John K’s ascension was not merely a birthright. He served as executive vice president for the past two years after a four-year stint as president of Ping Golf Japan. Prior to that, he oversaw the company’s new product development efforts as VP of engineering. As a high-school student, Solheim worked summers in the engineering department, and he went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University in 1996 with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 2001, he earned an Executive MBA degree from ASU.
“I am grateful for this opportunity,” said Solheim, 42. “I have aspired to this for most of my career. Such responsibility is something I don’t believe you can ever be completely ready for, but I am certainly prepared.”