SBJ/January 14 - 20, 2002/Marketingsponsorship

New USOC chief assumes marketing mantle, while Mannelly moves on

Following through on last month's forecast that he would consider "making adjustments," the new U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive officer, Lloyd Ward, has shifted control of marketing and fund-raising to himself and eliminated the position of chief marketing officer from the USOC organizational chart.

This caused the abrupt departure of the marketing chief who seemingly just arrived at the USOC (in June 2000), Matt Mannelly. Officially, the former Nike executive, hired in the $300,000-a-year salary bracket by then-CEO Norman Blake, is "leaving the organization to pursue other business opportunities." But Mannelly, sources say, had little chance of remaining when Lloyd was hired last October after emerging in the final stages of a 12-month CEO search.

Ward, previously a consumer brand marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, and recently but briefly Maytag's chief executive, was heralded as marketer of the year by BrandWeek a few years ago. He considers this role his strength.

Ward hopes to establish himself as the face of U.S. Olympic marketing when he huddles with corporate sponsors in Salt Lake City during the Winter Olympic Games, set to begin Feb. 8. He is expected to book wall-to-wall meetings, as there are few better times to reinforce sponsor support of Olympic programs and athletes than when the Games are under way and Olympic spirit is running high.

"He can be the USOC's primary weapon now," one insider said. "He can go to these corporations and meet CEO to CEO, which is important."

In introducing the realignment of the USOC's paid staff in Colorado Springs, Colo., Ward said he is creating the post of chief of staff. While it is not immediately clear who the candidates will be, a hire from outside the existing staff is expected.

After Salt Lake, most U.S. Olympic team sponsors will have fewer than two years remaining on their deals, many of which run through the 2004 Athens Summer Games. That narrow window gives the USOC little time to persuade wavering sponsors to stay on board and renew. Ward is said to favor centralizing marketing efforts between the USOC and the national sports governing bodies, which "own" the events and which the athletes' sponsors can readily buy into between Games.

The effort to bring these frequently autonomous bodies in line probably will mean an increasingly key role for former wrestler Jim Scherr, the USOC's senior managing director of sport resources.

Mannelly's departure was not on everyone's radar. He was on the roster of keynote speakers for this week's annual Sports Summit in New York, scheduled to deliver a status report on USOC marketing programs.

GOODWILL JOB HUNTING: The 15-year-old Goodwill Games were terminated by parent AOL Time Warner after five summer editions and one winter, but recent games President Michael Plant is remaining in a to-be-determined capacity with Turner Sports.

He says his role is expected to be clarified in February. The end of money-losing Goodwill Games Inc., founded by Ted Turner in 1986, meant the elimination of 20 jobs, Plant said. Eight Goodwill staff members were reassigned.

One of those is new Turner Sports director of public relations Jeff Pomeroy, who held a similar job in the Goodwill Games framework.

Job hunting will be David Raith, one of Turner's charter CNN employees when the cable network was launched in 1980, and the longtime executive in charge of the Goodwill Games sports programs.

Meanwhile, the decision left Calgary, Alberta, with the invitations ready but the party canceled. Calgary had been named to host the 2005 Winter Goodwill Games. "There was a small [financial] penalty clause, which we lived up to," Plant said.

RING TOSSES: NYC 2012, the group organizing New York's campaign to host the 2012 Olympic Games, moved into office space last week off Broadway in downtown Manhattan. Some of its offices now overlook Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center towers destroyed during the Sept. 11 terrorist hijackings. ... NYC 2012 also is without a president after the man holding that title, Daniel Doctoroff, was named deputy mayor for economic development by newly installed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. There is no indication from NYC 2012 if a search is under way or if the post will be filled any time soon. Doctoroff will remain connected to the group as founder. Attorney Jay Kriegel is NYC 2012's executive director. ... A merger between two organizations vying for control of U.S. Olympic equestrian sports is expected soon. USA Equestrian and the U.S. equestrian team are expected to become the U.S. Equestrian Federation. More details were expected following the conclusion Sunday of USA Equestrian's annual convention in Charlotte.

Steve Woodward can be reached at

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