SBD/July 10, 2014/Labor and Agents

Former Nike President Denson Joins Teneo Consultancy; Firm Adds Top Basketball Clients

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Bryant (l) and James (r) are among Teneo's first clients
Former Nike Brand President Charlie Denson has joined global consulting firm Teneo Sports as Chair, and Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and golfer Graeme McDowell "are its first four athlete clients," according to Daniel Roberts of FORTUNE. Denson worked at Nike for 34 years and was brand president from '01 until his retirement last January. Teneo was founded in '11 by Declan Kelly, Paul Keary and Doug Band, but Denson "was the draw for the basketball players," while McDowell "already had a sponsorship with Teneo." Parent company Teneo Inc. "has had a sports business since the beginning, but that business primarily helped cities or organizations make bids for sports events." The company also "has existing relationships with NASCAR and the WTA, among others." Teneo "did not, previously, work with individual athletes." Under Denson’s leadership, Teneo Sports "will now provide athletes with a one-stop shop for their marketing and branding needs." This "is not a sports agency, though many will likely equate it with one." The athletes joining Teneo "are retaining their agents, and those agents are not joining Teneo." Rather, Teneo "seeks to let agents continue to manage their clients in the way they traditionally do, while Teneo will provide a wide range of business services for its athlete clients, including wealth management, tax planning, personal branding, business development and strategic partnerships." Teneo "aims to improve on the typical model -- where athletes outsource their various business needs to a range of different specialists -- by giving the athlete only one call to make for any number of business needs" (FORTUNE.com, 7/9).
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