Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vol 2 No. 44 New CEO of USATF

The following is a press release from USATF (See my thoughts after the article) Max Siegel named CEO of USA Track & Field 4/23/2012///////////////////////////// INDIANAPOLIS – USA Track & Field’s board of directors has selected Max Siegel to serve as CEO, President and Chair Stephanie Hightower announced Monday. The board voted unanimously to hire Siegel after two CEO searches that took place over the course of 16 months. He will become the fourth CEO in the organization’s history when he assumes his duties on May 1 as part of a two-year contract. Chief Operating Officer Mike McNees had served as interim CEO since September, 2010. “The search for our next CEO was a process that we believe will fundamentally change USA Track & Field,” Hightower said. “It forced our board to put into focus what our greatest needs and priorities are. And in the end, it brought us an executive in Max Siegel who blends a knowledge of our sport and its political considerations with an impressive record of success in the broader sports and entertainment markets.” “I am honored by the opportunity to serve as USA Track & Field’s CEO,” Siegel said. “Since I first got involved with USATF in 2009, I have been passionate about the potential for financial growth and mainstream cultural visibility. “This sport has it all: charismatic stars, great stories, unmatched diversity, grassroots participation in the tens of millions, a multi-billion-dollar sporting-goods industry, and a passionate base. Connecting those dots is what the board, our staff and volunteers will work together to achieve.” Working in various executive capacities in the sports and entertainment fields over the last 20 years, Siegel’s track record has consistently been that of financial growth and competitive success. He previously served as President of Global Operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he sold tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship; and as Senior Vice President at Sony/BMG and as President of Zomba Gospel, Tommy Boy Gospel and Verity Records, where he led one of the most profitable divisions in the Sony BMG system. As a music executive, he increased top-line revenue and reduced expenses to yield unprecedented profit in the gospel industry. He was part of the executive team overseeing the careers of stars such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Usher. The owner of Rev Racing, Siegel took NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and advanced it from a fledging effort to add diversity to the sport into a competitive juggernaut on the racetrack. In 2011, his team’s drivers won 50 percent of all races on the K&N Pro Series East circuit, NASCAR’s top developmental circuit. Siegel is a former director on the boards of USA Track & Field and the USA Swimming Foundation with more than 20 years as a high-profile executive and attorney in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Additional Olympic-family experience includes work with USA Gymnastics, USA Skiing, USA Swimming and the Goodwill Games while he was an attorney with Indianapolis-based Baker & Daniels in the 1990s. In addition to representing sports figures such as Hall of Famers Reggie White and Tony Gwynn during their careers, he has created literary, television and film properties, including the 2010 BET Networks series, “Changing Lanes,” and the 2011 ESPN documentary, “Wendell Scott: A Race Story.” Scott was among the recently announced list of nominees eligible for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Siegel also is the author of “Know What Makes Them Tick: How to Successfully Negotiate Almost Any Situation.” “Countless members of the track & field community had suggested that we consider Max for the position, citing his success as an executive, his rolodex and his ability to bring people together to get things done,” Hightower said. “Selecting Max unanimously has brought a renewed unity to our board and will enable the organization to recalibrate our structure and function so we can move forward as a professional organization.” The first African-American to graduate with honors from Notre Dame law school, Siegel is a native of Indianapolis and resides in the city. Jill Geer Chief Communications Officer USA Track & Field //////////////////////////////////////////// Mike Solomon referred me to the above press release and asked what I thought about the new leadership at USATF //////////////////////////////////////////// Mike, Never heard of the guy, but it seems like an interesting choice that may take track and field in a different direction. Maybe a direction it always wanted to go but didn't have the personnel to guide it onto that path. Siegel seems to be very marketing oriented and to have had exposure to a lot of different sports. Today's Track and Field sure isn't the track and field we grew up with. But then what sport today reflects much of what that sport was in the 60's? By some ways of thinking track and field certainly got corrupted when the dollars started to flow. Prior to the money going into athletes' pockets, the corruption was only at the top amongst the elite leadership. Now that the tap is open, it would be inconceivable to turn it off when potential track and field stars could choose go to another sport to make a living. Except where would distance runners go? Survival running on reality TV? Somewhere along the line exposure diminished, and the sport became less popular. Now when a meet does get covered on TV it seems there is more focus on the preliminary b.s. and human interest stories than the actual events themselves. I feel like putting this subject on the blog and letting the readers chime in. So the door is open, folks. I'm sure most of you have some strong opinions. We know that athletes are bigger and faster, equipment and running surfaces are better cash incentives have affected the efforts and ability to train (without holding down a job) of the top athletes. Performances have improved radically since the sixties for a lot of reasons. How do you compare Track and Field today with the past? 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