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SBD/August 13, 2014/People and Pop Culture
George Pyne Leaving IMG To Create His Own Sports & Entertainment Business
Published August 13, 2014
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LATEST IMG FIGURE TO LEAVE COMPANY: Pyne’s departure comes six months after WME closed its $2.4B acquisition of IMG. The company, which funded the acquisition with $2B of debt, outlined an aggressive cost-cutting plan for IMG that called for eliminating $151M in costs in the first 18 months of ownership. In addition to Pyne, WME-IMG CFO PETER KLEIN and IMG Senior VP/Consulting DAVID ABRUTYN have left the company. The company has offset those departures by hiring former Microsoft and GM CFO CHRIS LIDDELL and former Turner sales exec GREG D'ALBA as head of global sales. But it does not plan to fill Pyne’s position. Pyne has been with IMG since '06 when Forstmann recruited him to lead the company’s sports and entertainment businesses. Those business units -- consulting, IMG Academy, licensing and client representation -- earned $119M last year. In addition to overseeing sports and entertainment, Forstmann and Pyne built IMG’s college business by acquiring Host Communications, CLC and ISP. The acquisitions helped consolidate the college business and created a new division at IMG that earned $66M last year. Pyne served as NASCAR COO prior to joining IMG. He joined NASCAR in '96 as the head of its licensing business and was named COO in '03.