European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady has announced he will step down from his post as soon as a successor is found

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European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady has announced he will step down from his post as soon as a successor is found.

The 65-year-old – who has spent more than 40 years with the European Tour – took over from Ken Schofield in 2005.

The announcement was originally scheduled for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship but O’Grady decided to bring it forward in the face of increasing speculation from the media.

“In the aftermath of what I believe to have been the best presented Ryder Cup since Royal Lytham in 1977, I felt this was the right time to ask the board to begin the search for my successor,” said O’Grady.

“It is my firm belief that, coming towards the end of what has been another incredibly successful season, we are now seeing the green shoots of recovery across Europe.

“I am pleased this coincides with all our building blocks, in terms of key television and sponsorship contracts, being in place.

“I have agreed with the board to stay on not only for the time it takes to appoint a new CEO but also for sufficient additional times after that to see them properly settled in.

“The board also agreed that, at this stage, I will take up a role as president of International Relations which will see me represent the European Tour through the Olympic Games in 2016.”

During his tenure, O’Grady supervised the implementation of the Race to Dubai and the Finals Series, currently in its second season.

He also played a role in securing golf’s return to the Olympics and growing the size and stature of the Ryder Cup.