Glory Sports International, the parent company of the world’s new premiere kickboxing league, GLORY World Series, on Tuesday announced the appointment of former WWE Executive VP Andrew Whitaker to the position of global CEO of Glory Sports International.
“We are excited that Andrew has agreed to assume the leadership mantel at GLORY in the pivotal role of CEO, on the front lines of our fast-growing organization,” said GLORY Sports International Chairman, co-founder, and award-winning hedge fund investor Pierre Andurand. “Andrew’s breadth of global experience in the media space is a tremendous asset to GLORY’s day-to-day business.”
“Andrew joining as CEO is an important milestone in the development of GLORY as a company and kickboxing as a sport. We’ve had an incredible first year – we have over 40 of the world’s top kickboxing athletes signed to us exclusively, we’ve staged four amazing events, achieved TV distribution in 200 countries and trended No. 1 globally on Twitter on New Year’s Eve 2012 – GLORY and kickboxing are for real. As we start a new season in 2013, we have a calendar of over 10 events on three continents, an active global standard for athlete rankings, and we are rolling out a successful global format for kickboxing tournaments with our Grand Slams, Slams and Road to GLORY events. In addition, we are fully committed to entering the U.S. market, and we are delighted Andrew has joined GLORY to oversee all this growth.”
Marcus Luer, co-founder of Glory Sports International, who has spearheaded GLORY’s rapid global expansion as interim-CEO over the last year since its inception, will resume the title Managing Director, allowing him to drive many of GLORY’s initiatives in Asia where he continues as CEO and founder of Asia’s leading, full-service sports marketing agency, TSA.
“At the same time,” Andurand continued, “this move will free up Marcus to focus on building the GLORY brand in the territories where his experience and business relationships are greatest.”
Whitaker will be spearheading the opening of a new GLORY office in the tri-state region of the United States.
“I am looking forward to taking a hands-on approach to driving the growth of what I have believed, for months, is an incredible combat sports entertainment product with tremendous global appeal,” said Whitaker, who previously served on the GLORY Sports International Board of Directors as Non-Executive Director.
“Our kickboxing rules distinguish our sport by requiring elite athleticism, skill, and honor, from GLORY kickboxers, and produce some of the most exciting knockouts ever seen in combat sports. Our martial artists define the word ‘warrior,’ and our superb level of production makes our live events one of the most fan-friendly entertainment experiences in the world. GLORY has already redefined the standard for kickboxing, and has all the elements necessary to become a major player in the global sports industry,” continued Whitaker.
“I look forward to working with Andrew again and continuing our successful partnership which began over 10 years ago while he was with WWE. Together, we ushered the wrestling brand into Asia,” said Luer. “GLORY is truly a global product now, which operates on a 24/7 basis with events and offices across three different continents – the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Prior to joining GLORY Sports International, Whitaker was the Managing Partner of Kings Highway Media, a global brand and media distribution advisory that serves sports and entertainment IP rightsholders, private equity and venture capital.
Whitaker also served as the Executive Vice President of International for NYSE-listed WWE Inc. where he was responsible for establishing and growing the leading professional wrestling entertainment company’s business via sales, marketing, promotion and public and government relations across television, digital media, live events, licensing and PPV/VOD.
Last week, GLORY debuted its new ROAD TO GLORY development fight series uniquely designed to identify and develop future kickboxing champions and other superstars in the U.S. and elsewhere, with an eight-man light heavyweight tournament (209 pounds/95 kilograms) at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Okla. On Saturday, Feb. 9, the ROAD TO GLORY series heads to Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles, Calif. with an eight-man middleweight (187 pounds/85 kilograms) tournament.
The next stop for GLORY’s championship series, home to the world’s greatest kickboxers, will be Excel Arena in London, England, where a stacked fight card, headlined by a heavyweight showdown between superstar Tyrone Spong (68-6-1 42 KO’s) and decorated, all-time great Remy “The Flying Gentleman” Bonjasky (77-15, 40 KO’s), will take place on Saturday, March 23.