September 29, 2017

The First Tee: Keith Dawkins Named Organization's Next Chief Executive Officer

Jersey City, New Jersey (September 29, 2017) – Keith Dawkins, an executive for Viacom’s Nickelodeon, will become The First Tee’s next CEO, it was announced today by the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors.

President George W. Bush, The First Tee’s Honorary Chairman, welcomed Dawkins to the position this morning at Liberty National Golf Club, site of the 2017 Presidents Cup, alongside The First Tee Chairman Tim Finchem, who introduced Keith to the organization’s Trustees during a breakfast meeting. Dawkins will replace current CEO, Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., who is set to retire at the end of 2017.

“The First Tee is a very effective and very necessary program for our nation’s youth and future,” President Bush remarked. “I’m proud to be the Honorary Chairman and to have worked with Joe Barrow, and I thank him for his leadership over the years. I congratulate Keith Dawkins and look forward to working with him. The First Tee, and thousands of young people, will benefit from his energy and experience.”

“On behalf of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors, I am pleased to welcome Keith Dawkins to the world of golf and to The First Tee as its next CEO,” said Mike Whan, LPGA Commissioner and Chairman of the Foundation. “We were unanimous in our decision and believe Keith’s experience, passion and demonstrated leadership will undoubtedly build on the successes that Joe Barrow so thoughtfully achieved.”

Dawkins will begin his role with The First Tee on October 16 as incoming CEO, and he will officially take the reins as CEO upon Barrow’s retirement, January 1, 2018. Dawkins will report to the World Golf Foundation Board and The First Tee Advisory Board.

“Keith is a dynamic leader who brings a suite of assets to the position, most notably a proven track record of forming high-level and lasting partnerships, organizational management and innovation, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Finchem. “I am thankful for Joe’s unwavering commitment to The First Tee over the past 18 years, and I trust the transition of leadership will mean continued momentum for the organization.”

Dawkins is a 25-year veteran of media and entertainment, most recently serving as Executive Vice President of Nickelodeon. While at Nickelodeon, he had overseen tween/teen-targeted and animation-based networks TeenNick and Nicktoons, as well as Nick Jr. and NickMusic.

Dawkins also led key multi-screen initiatives including NickSplat, targeting adults who love ’90s Nickelodeon, and Nickelodeon Sports. Through Nickelodeon Sports, he helped forge relationships with all major sports leagues to create new, multi-platform content and drive marketing events and initiatives, including an on-site presence at Super Bowl LI in Houston. Dawkins recently led the engagement between the PGA TOUR and Nickelodeon, which resulted in a PGA TOUR-themed weekend on Nickelodeon and an on-site branded kids’ zone at THE PLAYERS Championship.


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