February 24 - The All England Club, which stages the Wimbledon Championships, has appointed former ITV Broadcasting chief executive Mick Desmond (pictured) to the new role of commercial director.

He replaces John Rowlinson, who left in July 2009 to become head of broadcast at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Desmond will take responsibility for all commercial activities relating to the Wimbledon Championships and the All England Club, including television and broadcasting, official supplier and sponsorship income, merchandising and licensing, digital strategy and corporate hospitality arrangements.

Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Club, said: "We are delighted to have attracted someone of the calibre of Mick, with his wealth of background and experience, to this role.

"He is a fantastic addition to the team.

"The commercial world of sport is vibrant and increasingly competitive and The Championships intends to keep its place at the very top of global sporting events in every way, including our commercial activities."

Desmond is currently chairman of ITV franchise holder Channel TV and media rights company IPCN, which specialises in taking English formats and sports rights to Chinese broadcasters.

He hopes to use that experience to help make Wimbledon more popular in China especially with the emergence of players such as Zheng Jie and Li Na, who made the semi-finals of this year’s Australian Open.

Desmond said: "Although Wimbledon is on air in China, it is under exploited.

"I’m hoping with my role, this can be changed, and by the time the Championship is on this year, we have turned it into one of China’s bigger sporting events."

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