Alpine skiing-FIS elects billionaire Eliasch as new president

(Reuters) - Swedish-born billionaire businessman Johan Eliasch, a candidate endorsed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was elected president of skiing's world governing body on Friday.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) said the 59-year-old chief executive of sporting goods company Head was elected as successor to departing Swiss Gian Franco Kasper with 65 votes, 54.8% of the total.

British-based Eliasch, who has dual nationality, will be only the fifth FIS president in 97 years.

"I will be engaged, open-minded and transparent and a president that represents all nations and all disciplines," he said in a statement.

Eliasch's manifesto had included a ringing endorsement from Johnson, who worked with him during his time as Mayor of London, as well as ski and tennis greats who achieved success with Head equipment.

Kasper, 77, is leaving the post a year early and after 23 years in the job.

More than half the 109 medal events at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be from FIS-governed sports -- Alpine, Nordic and freestyle skiing as well as snowboarding and ski jumping.

Swiss ski federation president and former Alpine downhill world champion Urs Lehmann was runner-up with 26 votes (21.85%).

Britain's Sarah Lewis, who had hoped to become the federation's first female head, was third with 15 votes (12.61%) and Swedish national Olympic Committee president Mats Arjes polled 13 votes (10.92%).

Lewis had served as secretary general for 20 years before being abruptly dismissed last October.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by David Evans)

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