Ziv to assume the role in late fall with Michael Downey set to retire at end of December
The Chair of Tennis Canada Peter Kruyt announced on Tuesday that following a rigorous global search, the board has approved Gavin Ziv to become its new Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of Michael Downey at the end of the year.
“Tennis Canada was blessed with exceptional candidates during this process, and we are delighted Gavin rose to the occasion. The board unanimously extends its congratulations to him on his well-deserved promotion,” said Kruyt. “Gavin lives and breathes the Tennis Canada mission on a daily basis, he is highly respected in the industry and has already contributed to many chapters of growth across all aspects of our game.”
Ziv has spent more than 25 years at Tennis Canada, most recently in the position of Chief Tournaments Officer, spearheading the ATP and WTA 1000 National Bank Open presented by Rogers tournaments in both Toronto and Montreal. He will assume his new role in the late fall, with Downey officially stepping down at the end of December 2023.
“It’s an honour to be named as the next Chief Executive Officer of Tennis Canada at this time of growth in our sport,” said Ziv, 48. “We have become a world-leading tennis nation under Michael’s excellent stewardship and I look forward to building upon his legacy by mapping out the best possible future for our sport in Canada. Together with the Tennis Canada Board and our passionate staff we will continue to raise the bar on winning, elevate the fan experience by being digital-first, provide broader access to year-round facilities and create a safe and inclusive environment for all.”
Ziv was instrumental in leading Canadian negotiations to secure equal prize money for WTA players at the National Bank Open starting in 2027 and was named one of 20 Ambassadors for Game. Set. Equity., a strategy to advance gender equity in Canadian tennis. He also played an integral part in negotiating the agreement for the expansion of the ATP/WTA 1000 events from seven days to a 12-day format by 2025.
In his many years at Tennis Canada, Ziv has been responsible for all facets of the international competitive structure in Canada as well as officiating, overseeing all professional tennis events including the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup ties.
After serving on the WTA Board from 2018-2023 Ziv was elected to the new WTA Ventures Board in early 2023. He has also served on the ATP Media Board since 2017 and is the first Tennis Canada executive in history to concurrently sit on WTA and ATP boards, reflecting his reputation for effective collaboration and consensus building.
“I couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate to steer the Tennis Canada ship into the future,” said Downey, who spent 15 years as Tennis Canada’s President and CEO. “Gavin knows the business inside out and has spent 25 years working passionately for the greater good of our sport. Most recently, he crafted our five-year strategic plan and 10-year revenue forecast for the National Bank Opens. I have every confidence that, with Gavin at the helm, Tennis Canada will continue to reach new heights.”
After an illustrious career split over two terms, Downey announced in February that his tenure will come to an end on December 31, 2023. Under his leadership, the organization experienced success both on and off the court that is unparalleled in its 133-year history.
A timeline of Ziv’s career at Tennis Canada can be seen here.