Urs Lehmann, current President of Swiss Ski and retired downhill competitor, announced earlier this week that he would join the pool of candidates that are vying Gian-Franco Kasper’s position as president of FIS.
“I feel both hugely honored and obligated to run as Gian Franco Kasper’s successor,” Lehmann told Swiss Ski on Tuesday, April 7th. “It is important that we at FIS, as our international umbrella association, maintain a sense of continuity whilst also bringing new visions and ideas to the post-Kasper era. I feel ready to take on this challenge.”
Swiss ski nominated Lehmann for the presidency in hopes of securing yet another Swiss representative in the position. Gian-Franco Kasper and previous president, Marc Hodler, also hailed from the organization.
Lehmann, the 1993 Downhill World Champion, has been a member of the Swiss-Ski Council since 2006 and President of the Swiss Ski Association since 2008. Under Lehmann’s leadership, Swiss ski has seen a resurgence in performance, finishing as the men’s Nation’s Cup winner for the first time in 30 years.
Other candidates for the FIS presidency include Swedish-British billionaire, Johan Eliasch, who currently serves as the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Head, the global sporting goods group. According to Blick News, Eliasch has offered to do the job for free. FIS Secretary General, Sarah Lewis, is also being considered as a potential candidate. The British skier has been with FIS since 1994 and would be the first female president of FIS in the history of the organization. Current president Kasper also served as FIS Secretary General prior to his presidency.
FIS Congress, originally scheduled to take place on May 23rd in the Thai city of Pattaya, has been postponed until the fall in Zurich due to the global coronavirus pandemic. 132 nations that compete across winter sports under the FIS umbrella are eligible to vote. Countries with a large presence in the community get three votes, smaller nations only receive one. For a candidate to become president, they must be voted in with the absolute majority.