Bahar Gidwani of New York will assume the post of American Contract Bridge League chief executive officer on July 1. He succeeds Robert Hartman, who has been the organization’s chief executive since October 2011.
“Bahar brings a wealth of experience to this critical leadership role,” says ACBL President Bob Heller in making the announcement, “and that includes a tremendous background in technology. Most importantly, he’ll be good for bridge.”
“I have long had a passion for the game,” Gidwani says. “I’ve played bridge since I was 8 years old. I look forward to being a part of ensuring a bright future for a group that I have proudly been a member of since my sophomore year of college.”
Gidwani’s professional experience includes executive management in companies large and small. He has founded, grown and advised tech-based businesses for 30 years. He has served on the boards of a number of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
“As with any not-for-profit organization, ACBL needs to retain and add new members while remaining true to its mission to grow and sustain the game of bridge,” Gidwani says. “I believe I am good at ‘public listening.’ To effectively lead an organization that includes thousands of volunteers, one must be willing to spend as much or more time listening as one does speaking.”
Jay Whipple, District 9 Board member, headed the CEO Search Committee. “We’re lucky to have had a pool of extremely talented candidates vying for the position,” he says. “We had a thorough search-and-review process. Bahar not only meets all our needs, but he surpassed our expectations. Selecting him to lead the ACBL was a decision unanimously ratified by the board members in attendance at a special meeting.”
In 2007, Gidwani co-founded CSRHub LLC, Inc., and served as its CEO. The company provides information on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of 17,000 companies in 133 countries to more than 15,000 corporate managers, activists, journalists and students.
In 1991, Gidwani launched the first online stock photo agency – Index Stock Imagery – and built it into one of the largest companies in the photo industry. It was one of the first e-commerce sites on the Internet and one of the top 1000 web sites in overall traffic 1993–2006.
Gidwani completed his undergraduate work in astronomy and physics at Amherst College (magna cum laude), and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School with highest honors (Baker Scholar). His professional credentials include being a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and being one of the first 70 people awarded the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) designation. He worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody & Co. and served as a consultant with McKinsey & Co.
Gidwani was born in Columbus, Ohio. His wife is a doctor working in cancer research. Besides his interest in bridge, he races sailboats in both the summer and winter.
With more than 168,000 members, the ACBL is the largest bridge organization in the world. It is based in Horn Lake, Miss. and employs 60 headquarters staff and 170 tournament directors. The ACBL supports more than 3.5 million tables of bridge play annually throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda. Its mission is to promote, grow and sustain the game of bridge and to serve the bridge-related interests of its members.
ACBL Press Release