Chris Kermode appointed Executive Chair of the PTO

A significant change announced today by the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO), with the news that the reins of Executive Chair will shift from Charles Adamo to Chris Kermode.

Rewinding more than two years, I wrote a headline that featured the question, is this the PTO’s most significant move to date?, referencing the appointment of former President of the ATP, Kermode, as Vice Chair of the organisation. Having played key roles in another sport, tennis, that has trodden many of the pathways that triathlon is seeking to follow, that was a lot of experience to bring to the swim/bike/run world.

Alongside PTO CEO, Sam Renouf, Kermode will now play an even greater role in steering the direction of the PTO.

Invaluable Adamo

While it is reflected below in the press release comments of PTO Athlete Board Member, Tim O’Donnell, I am going to highlight it again here, a personal view – quite simply, the PTO would not exist without the efforts, resilience, determination and drive of Charles Adamo.

Driven in significant part by conversations with Lucy Gossage that Charles had around the realities of life as a professional triathlete, Adamo was, in my experience, the driving force that helped bring the PTO from concept to reality. There have been ups and (many) downs along the way, but his persistence and belief and energy to keep on pushing, whatever the obstacle, has been immense. And likely not seen by too many, as Adamo prefers to keep a low profile.

Dum Spiro, Spero – ‘Whilst I breathe, I hope’ – is the mantra of the PTO. Charles Adamo has exemplified that more than anyone over the past seven years.

With the PTO now a reality and a season of PTO Tour events in the books, the next stage of the organisation’s development and progress could be the ideal time for Kermode to step up, particularly with the knowledge that he has gained over the past two years.

Timing can sometimes be everything, and Charles Adamo was what the PTO needed in 2016 to help get it to where it is today. We wish Chris Kermode well, and hope he can make a similarly significant impact during his tenure too.

Chris Kermode executive chair PTO
Chris Kermode takes over as the PTO’s Executive Chair

Statement in full

Here is the full, formal announcement issued today:

The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) today announced the appointment of Chris Kermode as its new Executive Chairman. 

Kermode has been on the PTO’s Board of Directors since July 2020 and is one of the most experienced administrators in world sport. He moves into the role as Charles Adamo, the PTO Executive Chairman since 2016, steps down. 

Chris started his career as a professional tennis player from 1985-1988, after which he held a number of leadership positions in tennis, rising to the role of Executive Chairman and President of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). As the head of the ATP, Chris was responsible for promoting global tennis to the next generation of fans and attracting new audiences with innovative broadcasts and formats. 

Under his leadership, he transformed the ATP’s season-ending World Tour Finals at the London O2 Arena into the largest and most successful indoor tennis event in the world and launched the Next Gen Finals to showcase the world’s top tennis professionals aged under 21. During Kermode’s tenure at the ATP, the amount of prize money paid in men’s professional tennis increased more than 70%.

Commenting on his new appointment, Kermode said: 

“It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to help accelerate the PTO’s mission and support the PTO Professionals. Over the last two years we have made great strides in establishing our events and lifting the triathlon broadcasts to the next level. The PTO business model and the triathlon market is compelling, with many similarities to professional tennis which began to boom once the professionals started to act together to promote the sport through expanding their fan base.

“Professional triathlon has enormous potential to develop into a mainstream sport. This will require a unified front from the professionals and aligned interests with the commercial partners. That is why the unique ownership structure of the PTO, where the professionals and investors have ownership interests in the success of the venture, is so valuable and why I am confident that the PTO can be the catalyst that turns triathlon into a success and a mainstream sport.”    

Outgoing Executive Chairman Charles Adamo said: 

“In 2016, when I first began to help professional triathletes who had a vision to have their own organisation and transform the sport, I expected it to be a 6–12-month project. Now nearly seven years later it is a joy for me see how the PTO has established itself and PTO Professionals, against all odds and expectations, have been able to unite to transform the sport. With a committed investor base, dedicated management team and athlete unity so much has been accomplished and even greater milestones are on the horizon. Under the able leadership of Chris as chairman, the PTO is poised to build on its accomplishments and take our sport to new heights.”  

Tim O’Donnell, PTO Athlete Board member and one of founding athlete members of the PTO, stated, “On behalf of all PTO Professionals, we are grateful for Charles’ leadership in helping guide the PTO and giving professional triathletes their own organisation. Without his perseverance, there would be no PTO – he believed in our vision when no one else did and in the face of doubt and criticism refused to be deterred. A big thanks to Charles from all PTO Professionals.”

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