MLS Whitecaps Name Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong New Exec Chair
The MLS Whitecaps Thursday announced JOHN FURLONG as the team’s new Exec Chair, according to Jenelle Schneider of the Vancouver PROVINCE. Furlong has already “delivered the Winter Olympics to Vancouver, and ran them as head of VANOC,” but this is “potentially a huge move for the second-year MLS club.” Furlong said, “What they want is to be a complete and thoughtful organization that does a great job on the field, that does a great job for the fans, that is an honourable organization, that is really trying to find ways to really build something with the community and to deserve to be who they are.” The Whitecaps’ first CEO PAUL BARBER left at the end of February and the team originally said that it “would not rehire his position,” with President BOB LENARDUZZI and COO RACHEL LEWIS taking on the responsibilities. However, the “chance to add Furlong proved irresistible.” Whitecaps co-Owner JEFF MALLETT said that Furlong “will be involved in the day-to-day business,” and his value will also be in “visioning and leadership and his contacts in sport, business and government.” His first duties will include a “training centre deal to finalize, a fan and sponsorship base to grow and a culture to nurture” (Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/13). Furlong said, “I’m a bit stunned myself. This has all happened very quickly.” In Vancouver, Bruce Constantineau writes before Furlong accepted his new job he “tried to get a better sense" of MLS by flying to watch a Whitecaps-Union game at PPL Park on March 31. Furlong was “impressed with what he saw" (VANCOUVER SUN, 4/13).