Zak Brown Rejects Offer To Become IndyCar CEO; Series Adds Exec Derrick Walker
Just Marketing Int'l Founder & CEO Zak Brown has "turned down an offer" to become IndyCar CEO, choosing instead to "remain with the motorsports marketing company," according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Brown will "relocate in July to England to continue the growth" of his agency. Brown said, "I'm a huge fan of IndyCar, it's a great product and it certainly would have been a great opportunity and challenge." He added Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles is "fully aware of my passion for IndyCar and my desire to contribute to the series' success in any way I can." Brown: "But at this time that cannot be in the CEO role." IndyCar yesterday announced Ed Carpenter Racing GM Derrick Walker had been hired as President of Operations & Competition, reporting directly to Miles. Brown said that Walker's hiring "had nothing to do with his decision" (AP, 5/14). Walker will "oversee everything that happens on every IndyCar racetrack ... and will manage officiating, rule-making, logistics and safety." He "won't start his new job" until after the Indianapolis 500 on May 26 (INDYSTAR.com, 5/13). Walker said, "I've been around enough to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of the competition sports, but that doesn't deter me. I feel like I've got the opportunity to influence the future of the series and to hopefully add something" (SPEEDTV.com, 5/13).
JMI SALE MOVING FORWARD: Brown this morning said he remains committed to JMI and added that Spire Capital Partners' sale of its controlling interest in the agency is moving forward as planned. Spire hired Rothschild Group to handle the sale. The bank has met with holding companies and private equity groups to gauge their interest in acquiring Spire's 50% stake in the motorsports agency. Brown said, "It’s likely JMI will have a new partner in the future. The prospects for the company and its future partners look really good.” Brown said the reason he chose to stick with JMI rather than pursue an option to become IndyCar CEO is because JMI still gets him "excited." Brown added, "All the reasons I’ve done it the last 18 years are all the reasons I want to keep doing it. Post-Spire there will be new exciting challenges for me, and that keeps me really interested" (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).