Steve Dainton has been promoted to chief executive of the ITTF Group ©ITTF

Steve Dainton has been promoted to the role of chief executive of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Group with immediate effect.

The Australian had been ITTF chief executive since 2017.

His new position will extend his remit to lead the ITTF Foundation and World Table Tennis (WTT), both of which are part of the ITTF Group.

The ITTF Foundation focuses on the governing body’s corporate social responsibility, while WTT looks after the ITTF’s commercial and event business side.

Dainton was instrumental in establishing both entities during his four years as ITTF chief executive.

The governing body said Dainton played a transformative role as the governing body’s chief executive over the last four years, including the development of the ITTF Strategic Plan approved at the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM).

It cited the creation of the ITTF Membership Relations department, which led to investment in table tennis doubling.

Dainton’s role in increasing the ITTF’s professional staff and fan base was also highlighted.

He oversaw the financial management of the ITTF during the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped to ensure the federation remained “economically stable.”

His achievements prompted Petra Sörling, the ITTF’s executive vice-president of finance, to offer Dainton his full support./

“The new contract and title signify the full support Dainton has from the ITTF Executive Committee, reflecting our satisfaction with his achievements and vision for the sport over the last four years,” said Sörling.

Dainton also spoke of his ambition to further expand table tennis’ appeal.

“After three years of initial growth based around our first-ever strategic plan and then managing throughout the crisis, the past 18 months has been hugely exciting and quite often positively challenging,” the ITTF Group’s new chief executive said.

“To continue the journey is an honour.

“Ensuring everything we do is in the best interest of table tennis is something that I will continue to passionately pursue.

“Our sport has so much potential and on the global level can continue post-COVID-19 to grow exponentially.

“It’s especially important that we continue to find ways to increase the prize money for our players, which has been the main drive of our commercial approach.

“I wholeheartedly believe we are still only just scratching the surface and with a united approach our sport can be truly one of the biggest in the world.”

World Table Tennis, which is responsible for the ITTF's commercial and event business side, will be one of the entities Dainton leads in his new role ©Getty Images
World Table Tennis, which is responsible for the ITTF's commercial and event business side, will be one of the entities Dainton leads in his new role ©Getty Images

Dainton also oversaw the creation of a Unified Korea Team at the World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) in 2018 and brought the WTTC to the American continent for the first time, with this year’s event to be held in Houston in November.

The World Championships will coincide with the governing body’s AGM in the Texan city on November 24 following a row over plans to hold the meeting separately from the WTTC on September 18.

ITTF President Thomas Weikert will seek re-election at the AGM, but Sörling is set to stake a claim for the presidency and other candidates may also come forward after disputes emerged in the organisation’s leadership.