Global consulting firm Accenture Ltd. is ending its sponsorship of Tiger Woods, saying the golfer is "no longer the right representative" after the "circumstances of the last two weeks."
Accenture's announcement Sunday marks the company's first statement since allegations of Woods' multiple infidelities surfaced in recent weeks. The move makes Accenture the first sponsor to cut ties altogether with Woods since his marital troubles came to light and since his statement Friday that the 33-year-old is taking an indefinite leave from golf to work on his marriage.
The relationship between Woods and Accenture goes back six years, with the New York-based firm in 2006 crediting its "Go on, be a Tiger" campaign with boosted its image significantly. Accenture has used Woods to personify its claimed attributes of integrity and high performance.
"After careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising," the company said Sunday, adding that "it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family."
Accenture said it will immediately transition to a new advertising campaign, with a major effort scheduled to launch later in 2010.
On Saturday, Gillette, which uses the slogan "The best a man can get," said it won't air advertisements featuring Woods or include him in public appearances for an unspecified amount of time, but didn't say it was terminating their relationship completely. Woods was hired by Gillette in 2007 and has been in ads for Gillette Fusion Power razors with titles like "Phenom" and "Champions" with other stars including tennis great Roger Federer and soccer player Thierry Henry.
Other sponsors continue to stick with Woods for the time being.
Electronic Arts, whose EA Sports division has been selling Tiger Woods video golf games for a decade, said Sunday, "We respect that this is a very difficult, and private, situation for Tiger and his family. At this time, the strategy for our Tiger Woods PGA TOUR business remains unchanged." The game's next edition featuring Woods comes out in six months.
Nike Inc. said late Friday it supports Woods' decision to take time off. Gatorade, a unit of PepsiCo Inc., said previously it supports Woods. AT&T has said it is evaluating its relationship with the golfer. Watch maker Tag Heuer did not return a call Sunday, but its Web site continues to display photos of Woods' wearing the Link and Golf Watch models.
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