Paul Foster has become GEF chief operating officer ©GEF

The Global Esports Federation (GEF) has announced the appointment of Paul Foster as the organisation’s chief operating officer and Hideki Okamura as a new board member.

The GEF was officially launched in December in Singapore, with the organisation saying it has since held three months of worldwide consultation sessions and research.

The organisation confirmed Foster, who was initially a senior advisor to the GEF Board, would serve as chief operating officer.

Foster was credited with having established a “robust leadership team” at the GEF and also worked successfully within the Olympic Movement for more than 15 years.

The GEF said Foster had led teams at more than 10 Olympic Games across the world, culminating with a tenure as head of protocol, events and hospitality at the International Olympic Committee.

Foster established a strategic consulting firm in London and Los Angeles, while he has led teams and projects in Madrid, Baku, Paris, Rome, New York City, and recently as a vice-president at World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

“The GEF motto, #worldconnected, says it all,” Foster said.

“Through the power of connectivity, esports offers a platform of inclusive participation, learning, sharing, and enjoyment, regardless of physical distance.

“I am excited to continue contributing to Global Esports Federation in fulfilling its mission to convene the esports ecosystem and unleash the unlimited possibilities of sports in this Digital Age.”

The GEF also welcomed the appointment of Okamura, with the body claiming he brings extensive esports experience as chairman of the SEGA Group Board.

He worked within the consumer business within gaming giant Sega from the late 1980s to early 2000s, while he now serves as the representative director of the Japan esports Union.

The organisation was was established to promote esports in Japan, as well as to conduct related research activities and assist efforts to train players.

The GEF Board is led by President Chris Chan, who is the secretary general of the Singapore National Olympic Council.

The board includes vice-presidents five-time Olympian Charmaine Crooks and Wei Jizhong, an honorary life vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Edward Cheng will also serve as a vice-president, taking up the same role he holds at the Chinese company Tencent.

Tech giant Tencent signed an agreement to become a founding global partner of the GEF.

The Global Esports Federation was launched in Singapore during December ©GEF
The Global Esports Federation was launched in Singapore during December ©GEF

The Chinese conglomerate includes Tencent Games, which features Chinese video games but has also invested heavily into non-Chinese publishers.

This includes full ownership of Riot Games, the American developers of League of Legends.

The GEF has also confirmed eight commissions, which will be led by members of the GEF Board as well as experts from the esports, sports, corporate governance, technology and business sectors, it is claimed.

Crooks and Koen Schobbers were appointed chairperson and vice-chairman of the Athletes and Players Commission, while Lorenzo Giorgetti will head the Brand, Marketing, Commercial and Communications Commission.

Chris Overholt, President and chief executive of OverActive Media, will lead the Digital, Technology, and Innovation Commission, while Chester King and Tyrone Seward head the Education, Culture and Wellness Commission.

Appointments also include Adrian Lismore leading the Finance, Legal and Administration Commission, Tomas Amos Ganda Sithole leading governance and ethics, and Ramil Aliyev and Mario Cilenti leading the Membership Commission.

The Technical and Development Commission will be led by Chong Geng Ng, the President of the Singapore Esports Association and son of International Olympic Committee Executive Board member Ser Miang Ng.

Chong will be supported by Mars Hou.

The GEF said the commissions will advise the board to help fulfil overall aims of creating a safe, healthy, and sustainable esports ecosystem.

The GEF is a rival to the International Esports Federation (IESF), which was established in 2008 in South Korea.



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