SBJ/July 25-31, 2011/People and Pop Culture

CLC founder Bill Battle to stay on as chairman

The leadership at Collegiate Licensing Co. might have rolled over recently, but the company’s constant through the years — Bill Battle — isn’t changing.

Battle
Battle, 69, is staying in his role as chairman at CLC, the Atlanta-based company he founded in 1981 and ran for most of the last 30 years.

“I know there’s some concern among our clients that we’ve lost some key staff people with a lot of experience, but maybe it gives them some comfort to know that there’s still some gray hair around,” Battle said with a laugh. “CLC means a lot to me, before we sold it and after we sold it, and I’m glad that we’ve got some great talent still here. I don’t want to see any backward steps.”

The leadership changes began last year, when IMG acquired ISP Sports and installed ISP owner Ben Sutton as the president of IMG College, the parent company of CLC. Through the leadership shift, two major changes affected CLC: the departure of former IMG College chief Pat Battle, Bill Battle’s son; and the reassignment of Derek Eiler, the former chief operating officer at CLC.

It was during CLC’s transformation at the top earlier this year that Sutton knew he had to lean on Bill Battle to bridge the changes. The two had been friends for close to 20 years, and Sutton, a marketing and media expert, needed Battle’s licensing expertise. Sutton also brought in Battle as a consultant on other IMG College business.

Battle provided a steadying influence during the changes, which eventually led to the promotion of Cory Moss to senior vice president and managing director last month. Moss is running the day-to-day business of CLC, but Sutton has asked Battle to stay on as chairman, where he will advise the senior staff and consult with CLC’s clients.

“I’m sure with all of the changes that some people assumed Coach Battle would move on down the road,” Sutton said. “But it’s important for me and the folks at CLC that he stays involved.”

CLC, which sold to IMG in 2007 for a little more than $100 million, is the sports licensing agent for nearly 200 universities, bowl games and conferences, and is the major player in the $4.3 billion collegiate licensing industry.

Battle, a former University of Tennessee football coach, said he intends to be in the office three to four days a week as chairman. He won’t go to every weekly staff meeting, but he will maintain regular contact with Moss and his senior staff, as well as the many college contacts he has made in 30 years of doing this work.
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