SBD/October 18, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Delaware North Announces Exec Changes, Including Wentzell Taking Over Sportservice

Wentzell (l) succeeding Abramson as Sportservice President
Buffalo-based Delaware North Cos. named JOHN WENTZELL President of its Sportservice concessionaire division, one of several leadership changes announced yesterday. Wentzell, a veteran arena manager, was most recently DNC Boston and DNC Int’l President. For the past six years, Wentzell had been the TD Garden CEO, the arena owned by DNC whose food operation is run by Sportservice. Wentzell joined DNC in ‘96 as VP/Operations and during his tenure at TD Garden, Wentzell oversaw premium seat renovations that set a benchmark for other NBA and NHL teams planning arena retrofits. Sportservice President RICK ABRAMSON, who has been in the role since September ‘04, has been named DNC Parks & Resorts President, as well as Exec Chair of the company’s Australia and Asia operations, a new role created by DNC. In that position, Abramson will maintain a presence in sports internationally, managing DNC food operations at three sports facilities in Australia, including Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open tennis tournament, Etihad Stadium, a soccer and rugby facility in Melbourne and the Sydney Cricket Ground. Before he took over Sportservice, Abramson was Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex President & COO, a division of DNC Parks & Resorts. He has worked at DNC for more than 40 years.

SUCCESSFUL REIGN: Under Abramson’s tenure the past eight years, Sportservice added new accounts at several venues, including MetLife Stadium, Lambeau Field, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Target Field, Bank of America Stadium, Red Bull Arena, Livestrong Sporting Park and Camelback Ranch. Sportservice also added retail accounts with several existing food service clients. Total Sportservice revenue during Abramson's tenure was $750M in food and retail business. Considering those successes, some in the sports industry may have been surprised by the moves, according to DNC President & COO CHUCK MORAN. Moran said that truth be told, it is part of the company’s strategy to expose its execs to broader experiences within the overall hospitality industry. Moran: "We wouldn’t have made these moves if we thought it was going to break our momentum. It is a juggling of sitting executives, nobody is leaving the company. It’s all about developing the talent of our folks.”

OVERSEAS GROWTH: Abramson sees a big opportunity to expand DNC food business overseas in Australia, where he said there is a need to improve sports concessions to satisfy a growing middle class. He will also pursue opportunities in Asia, India and Singapore tied to sports facility developments.

MORE MOVES: Current DNC Parks & Resorts President KEVIN KELLY will move into the newly-created role of VP/Shared Services for Global Operations, where he will oversee the firm’s GreenPath environmental management program, among other services. Also, DNC VP/Administration JIM HOUSER will take on a new leadership role as DNC Parks & Resorts COO, reporting to Abramson. All DNC exec changes take effect Jan. 1.

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