World Table Tennis (WTT) has announced the appointment of Jonny Cowan as its Europe general manager, with his role dedicated to growing the sport in the continent.
The WTT, a commercial vehicle set up by the International Table Tennis Federation in 2019, said Cowan’s responsibilities will include generating tournament opportunities to create a successful pathway for events and players in Europe.
Cowan will also be tasked with leading sponsorship efforts and supporting media rights sales.
The Briton is expected to work with National Table Tennis Associations, commercial event agencies and venue operators to identify potential hosts for further events amidst difficult conditions posed by the pandemic this year.
This will involve searching for a host city in Europe for a Grand Smash in 2022, the highest tier of the new WTT event structure.
Prior to his latest appointment, Cowan has managed the ITTF’s marketing and partnership operations across Europe, including supporting the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) for the last four years.
"I am extremely humbled and excited to be given the opportunity to lead WTT’s ambitious growth strategy in Europe," he said.
"I have been involved in table tennis in various ways for over 30 years and I believe WTT can transform the sport and help grow the table tennis economy for the benefit of all its stakeholders.
"There is plenty to do in a competitive sports and entertainment market, and I look forward to working with commercial partners as well as colleagues in the ETTU, National Associations, leagues, and clubs, coaches and players to take our great sport forward."
Cowan has previously served as head of marketing at Everton Football Club and worked with UEFA during Euro 2016.
He also worked as a lead consultant at sports marketing agency Two Circles, where he worked with clients in Premiership Rugby, the England and Wales Cricket Board, and national governing bodies.
Cowan was a youth international in football and was a six-time Irish national table tennis champion, while he represented the country in three World Championships between 1995 and 2001.
Cowan has also commentated at several ITTF events and served as Master of Ceremonies at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Table tennis enjoys a strong tradition in Europe and we recognise the major growth potential across the continent," said WTT director Steve Dainton.
"We are looking forward to seeing our sport go from strength to strength under Cowan’s guidance and we wish him well in his new role."
The WTT has also confirmed Philippe Le Floc’h has extended his role as senior commercial strategy consultant into a second year.
Le Floc’h has been advising WTT’s leadership on the overall commercial strategy.
"I am delighted to continue supporting this ground-breaking project to innovate table tennis in the modern era of sport and play a part in WTT’s growth in spite of these challenging times for all," Le Floc’h, a former chief commercial officer at FIFA and marketing director at UEFA, said.
WTT was formally launched by the ITTF and now runs all of the governing body's commercial and events business.
It aims to modernise the commercial business activities of table tennis and has led to the introduction of a series of new events, with the promise of increased prize money and a more modern experience for fans, broadcasters, players and hosts.
The first WTT event took place in Macau in November, acting as a promotional showcase for the new series before its official launch this year.
A Middle East hub in Doha is set to host the first official events, with a WTT Contender tournament scheduled for March 3 to 6 and a WTT Star Contender event from March 8 to 13 in the Qatari capital.
Tournaments at a Chinese hub are due to follow.