Rory McIlroy leaves Horizon; sets up own management firm

Golfer Rory McIlroy has confirmed his split from Horizon Sports Management to set up his own company, Rory McIlroy Incorporated (RMI).

Rory McIlroy leaves Horizon; sets up own management firm

Golfer Rory McIlroy has confirmed his split from Horizon Sports Management to set up his own company, Rory McIlroy Incorporated (RMI).

The Northern Irish former world number one joined Horizon two years ago, having previously been with Chubby Chandler's International Sports Management (ISM).

The 24-year-old’s new company will be headed up by chief executive Donal Casey, who served as Horizon’s director of strategy until December 2012, while Rory’s father Gerry McIlroy will sit on the board alongside Barry Funston, who runs The Rory Foundation charity.

A statement on McIlroy’s official website read: "Rory McIlroy confirms he has terminated his contract with Horizon Sports Management and that the details of the termination are in the hands of a legal team led by A&L Goodbody in Dublin, Ireland.

"The golfer's business interests will from now on be managed by Rory McIlroy Incorporated. CEO of RMI will be Donal Casey, an actuary by profession with many years of CEO experience.

"The Rory Foundation for charity will be run by Barry Funston, a business leader and long-time friend of the McIlroy family. Both men will serve on the RMI Board, together with Gerry McIlroy.”

During his time with Horizon, McIlroy penned a US$200 million, ten-year contract with Nike, which was one of the largest athlete endorsement deals in history. The agency also brokered deals with audio specialists Bose Corporation and watchmaker Omega.

McIlroy’s decision to split from the Dublin-based firm has subsequently led Horizon to pursue legal action against the golfer, with his contract said to have a number of years still to run. "Since October 2011, Horizon has achieved exceptional results for Rory in realising his commercial objectives," read a Horizon statement. 

“Under Horizon's management, Rory has signed some of the most lucrative endorsements in sports history. The current management contract has a number of years to run. Rory’s decision to seek a termination of the management contract with Horizon is now regrettably in the hands of legal advisors.”

McIlroy joins fellow British sports stars Andy Murray and David Beckham in setting up a private company to handle his commercial affairs.