Wed, April 13, 2016
Chairman and CEO, PING
John Solheim, Chairman and CEO of PING, began making putters with his father, Karsten Solheim, in their family's garage as a 13-year-old. As interest in PING golf clubs grew, Karsten focused on innovation, while John, still a high school student, took responsibility for production, from raw castings to finished clubs, of the now highly-prized PING Scottsdale Anser putters,. When the company's international reputation flourished, John became primarily involved with product design--a continuing passion--manufacturing processes, and the organization's relationships with the USGA, the R&A and the PGA Tour. In 1995, John, having been executive vice president for many years alongside his brothers, took the reins of what has always been a family business. John's mother and brothers continue to serve on the board of directors. Now, five of Karsten and Louise's grandchildren, including John's three sons, have taken on executive responsibilities. Eleven additional members of the extended family are counted among employees of a firm that spans the globe.
Like his father before him, John is an inventor, innovator and forward thinker. With more than 170 US patents to his name, he has influenced the design of golf clubs and bags across the industry. Keenly interested in developing a world-class engineering and manufacturing company, John brought technology to the company regularly used by the world’s foremost engineering companies and some rarely found outside the aerospace and ballistics industries. Through his leadership, PING became the first golf club manufacturer to be ISO certified.
John’s leadership extends beyond the company. PING is a founding member of the United States Golf Manufacturers Council, which, among other activities, works worldwide with governmental agencies on international trade matters and communicates with golf’s ruling bodies on industry issues. John received the Digger Smith award from the American Junior Golf Association, in part for his sponsorship of junior tournaments and for creating the PING Junior Solheim Cup, which is modeled after the Solheim Cup founded by his parents. PING for many years has worked on adaptive fitting for the physically handicapped; John has integrated this into the physical rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. In 2012 John teamed up with Bubba Watson to provide funding for an innovative lab at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, benefitting children with mobility conditions. John was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 HSBC Golf Business Forum, held in Shanghai, China. John also serves on the Board of Trustees of LeTourneau University.
John and his wife, Sunny, each have three children and John has nine grandchildren. Beyond golf, John’s hobbies include bicycling, woodworking and fast cars.