FIS President Gian Franco Kasper announced over the weekend that he will be stepping down from his position in May 2020 at the next FIS Congress in Thailand.

Franco, 75, was first named Secretary General of FIS in 1975 and took over as President in 1988 from Marc Hodler. FIS has only had two Presidents since 1951 when Hodler was first named President.

The number of FIS sports had grown under Kasper to include freestyle and snowboard events in addition to the traditional alpine, cross-country, and jumping disciplines, with many becoming Olympic medal events at recent Games.

Franco’s long tenure has not been without controversy, however. Most recently, he made controversial comments to a Swiss newspaper doubting the existence of climate change and indicating that he prefers to do business with authoritative governments last winter. Kasper later apologized and insisted his comments were made jokingly.

He also found himself in hot water in 2005 after making questionable comments about women’s ski jumpers, musing that ski jumping “seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view.”

Kasper was elected to another four-year term as FIS President in 2018 but will step down half way through it. The next FIS Congress begins on May 22, 2020, in Pattaya, Thailand.

A Lake Tahoe native and University of Vermont graduate, Higgins was a member of the Catamounts' 2012 NCAA title winning squad and earned first team All-American honors in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.