Longtime U.S. Figure Skating executive director David Raith stepped down due to health reasons Wednesday and Ramsey Baker was promoted from chief marketing officer to replace him with the national governing body.
Raith had been on a six-month medical leave after a cancer diagnosis. Baker had been filling his role on an interim basis.
“All this was a shock and unexpected,” Raith said in a statement. “My doctors believe I am now cancer-free, but the procedure and the extended recovery have taken a toll. I love U.S. Figure Skating and have given my heart and soul to the organization. However, with an extremely busy season ahead and the transition to a new board structure next year, I cannot in good faith continue at the pace necessary and fulfill all the responsibilities required of the executive director.”
Raith was the longest-serving executive director in the 100-year history of U.S. Figure Skating. He took over in September 2005 after working with CNN, the Goodwill Games and a two-year stint with USA Track and Field.
Raith plans to assist U.S. Figure Skating in an advisory role when it comes to international relations.
Baker has worked in marketing and communications for U.S. Figure Skating for the past 16 years, and has been involved in television and media contracts, sponsorship development and other initiatives.
The change in leadership comes at an important time with the Winter Olympics in Beijing roughly seven months away.
“Working under David’s leadership for more than 15 years has helped prepare me for this position,” Baker said, “and his continued mentorship and role as senior advisor will allow for a seamless transition.
“We have an amazing staff that has been extremely supportive of me as the acting executive director over the past six months,” Baker continued, “and the continuity that provides moving forward gives me confidence that the organization is poised for continued great success.”