Former CEO of Wentworth sues for £750k over racial discrimination

Alistair
By Alistair January 5, 2020 21:42 Updated

The former chief executive of Wentworth Club, one of the most famous golf clubs in the world, is suing the owner of the club for three quarters of a million pounds, as he claims he was dismissed unfairly.

Stephen Gibson, 49, who was featured on the cover of The Golf Business in August 2018, was removed from his post as chief executive at Wentworth last year by Chinese owner Dr Chanchai Ruayrungruang and replaced by his 29-year-old daughter, Woraphanit Ruayrungruang.

Dr Ruayrungruang’s company Reignwood purchased the Surrey course for £130 million in 2014, while Mr Gibson had worked at Wentworth since 2007.

According to The Telegraph, a wealthy Wentworth resident, who ‘doesn’t agree with the way the club is now being run’, is covering Mr Gibson’s legal bill.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Gibson said: “I confirm that I have initiated legal proceedings against Reignwood. While proceedings are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

In a memo sent to members in the spring, Ms Ruayrungruang informed members that Mr Gibson had left the club, and praised him for playing an integral part of the club.

She added that she would be taking up the position of interim CEO, while the club went through the process of appointing a new one.

In a statement, the club said: ‘We do not wish to comment on an ongoing legal proceeding.’

Dr Ruayrungruang made his fortune selling energy drink Red Bull in China and had previously infuriated some members of the club after announcing plans to cut the number of members from 4,000 to 800, while at the same time asking for large payments to secure a debenture membership to fund improvements at the club, although Wentworth later modified its plan.

Wentworth backs down in membership dispute

Some members also expressed dissatisfaction with a rulebook that was issued in 2017 that stated that members could be expelled if they criticised the owner.

Wentworth issues extraordinary rulebook to its members

According to the Daily Mail, those looking to join the club today would have to pay a joining fee of about £150,000, with annual fees of around £10,000.

The club hosts the BMW PGA Championship and is the headquarters of the European Tour.

 

Alistair
By Alistair January 5, 2020 21:42 Updated

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