As part of the next stage in its business evolution, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced today (21 March 2019) the departure of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Xavier Gonzalez.
The 59-year-old Catalan joined the IPC as Paralympic Games Liaison Director in 2002 and soon after became the Interim Chief Operating Officer. In 2004 he was appointed CEO.
Replacing Gonzalez as Interim CEO will be Dr. Mike Peters, a two-time Paralympian in CP Football, who joined the IPC in 2015 as Chief of Staff before becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2018.
Xavier Gonzalez, IPC CEO, said: “It has been an absolute privilege and honour to have served the IPC, the Paralympic Movement and Para athletes for the last 17 years. This role has not just been a job, but my passion and my life providing many memorable and thoroughly enjoyable life changing experiences.
“I am extremely proud of what I have helped to deliver with the support of the outstanding team and dedicated network of volunteers since 2002. To see the evolution of Para sport and the development and growth in global recognition of Para athletes around the world has been amazing; Para athletes really are now seen as sport stars who deliver mind-blowing performances few thought possible years ago.
“The level of media and broadcast coverage they now secure, as well as the commercial support within the Movement, really is a far cry from what it used to be. It’s also amazing to see the size and global reach of the IPC and Paralympic Games now compared to when I joined when we had no money and employed just a handful of people.
“I was working towards stepping down from the IPC in 2021. However, after discussions with the Board in January and having achieved pretty much everything I wanted to with the organisation, it became clear that now is the right time for a change of leadership. This summer the IPC Governing Board will embark on a new strategic direction and look to maximise the established opportunities out there.
“I leave the IPC in a very strong position and well equipped for its next stage of development. I wish the team under the interim leadership of Mike Peters all the very best for the future.”
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “There are few words that can properly do justice to the impact Xavier has had on the IPC and the Paralympic Movement. Under his leadership, he has done an outstanding job, effectively building the IPC from a start-up to a globally well-respected sports organisation.
“The IPC Governing Board will always be grateful to his contribution in progressing the Paralympic Movement. Xavier will continue to support the IPC with the delivery of the Paralympic Games until 2020 and we are working on the best ways of facilitating this.
“Following Xavier’s departure, we will soon be appointing a recruitment firm to lead the search for a new CEO as the IPC embarks on a new and exciting phase in its evolution.”
When Gonzalez joined the IPC, the Bonn-based organisation was on the brink of bankruptcy and employed less than 10 people. He will leave an organisation that now employs 115 people across all departments and regularly turns over more than EUR 20 million each year.
Mr Gonzalez departs on 22nd March 2019.