SBD/April 24, 2012/Olympics

USATF Names Max Siegel New CEO After 19-Month Search For Doug Logan Successor

Siegel will earn a base
salary of $500,000
USA Track & Field today named former Dale Earnhardt Inc. President of Global Operations Max Siegel its CEO, ending a 19-month search for a new leader. The organization has been without a CEO since Doug Logan left in September '10. Siegel, 47, will earn a base salary of $500,000 with an option for bonuses. By hiring Siegel, the USATF board becomes the second major Olympic organization to name one of its former board members to its top job. The USOC board did the same in '09 when it named board member Stephanie Streeter interim CEO. She faced tremendous pressure from Olympic constituent groups, which raised questions about her qualification for the job. But USATF Chair Stephanie Hightower pointed to examples of other organizations elevating board members to CEO as proof that doing so is a common practice. Hightower said, “The real issue here is that Max was not on the board when he was selected for this position. I don’t understand why anyone would be cringing because he was not a board member when we started this process.” Siegel was on the board of USATF from ‘09 until late last year when he stepped down so that his sports marketing agency, Max Siegel Inc., could be hired by USATF to manage the organization's marketing and sales efforts. USATF board member Steve Miller said that Siegel’s knowledge of the organization and his knowledge of sports made him the best candidate for the job. Since USATF hired him in October, Siegel has focused on improving relationships with existing sponsors, strengthening its marketing materials and evaluating its assets. His agency hasn't sold any major sponsorships but has signed an affinity deal with Nationwide and done some work with USOC-sponsor Citi. Siegel was named following the USATF’s second search for a CEO. It failed to agree to terms with one in its first search, which concluded last spring and included N.Y. Road Runners President & CEO Mary Wittenberg and Univ. of Oregon track coach Vin Lananna as finalists. At the time, the organization struggled to find someone who was willing to move to Indianapolis to take the job. That was not an issue for Siegel, who is an Indianapolis resident (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

APPLE NOT FAR FROM THE TREE: In Oregon, Curtis Anderson notes Siegel “becomes the fourth chief executive in USATF’s history.” He has “extensive background in working with other Olympic sports such as swimming, gymnastics, and skiing as an attorney based in Indianapolis.” Siegel yesterday said that he “wanted to build more collaborative relationships with the sport’s commercial partners, work on new and innovative things with ESPN, help shape the NBC television product, create more sponsorship opportunities for athletes, and finally, make an impact on participants from the grass roots to elite levels of the sport.” He also “plans to stick with the USATF campaign started by Logan to push for 30 medals at the London Olympics” (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 4/24). In N.Y., Lynn Zinser writes in hiring Siegel, USATF “did not travel far from its home base." Siegel said, “Who wouldn’t want to challenge this challenge? I’m excited about the impact I can have on this organization but also on lifestyle” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/24).
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