USOC Hires USGA Exec Sarah Hirshland For CEO Position
The USOC has hired USGA Chief Commercial Officer Sarah Hirshland as its next CEO. She will assume the position by late August. Hirshland faces daunting tasks in her new position: Repairing the USOC’s image in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal and engineering potentially controversial governance reforms designed to better protect athletes and satisfy Congressional overseers. She takes over for acting CEO Susanne Lyons, who had held the position since Scott Blackmun resigned abruptly in February after an eight-year tenure. Hirshland is the committee’s 12th CEO. “The USOC is at a critical time in its history and requires an energetic, creative and inspiring leader who is capable of building on past success while making sure that the athletes we serve are protected, supported and empowered in every possible way,” USOC Chair Larry Probst said in a statement.
Hirshland, a '08 SBJ/SBD "Forty Under 40" honoree, joined the USGA in '11 as Senior Managing Dir of Business Affairs. She was appointed CCO in April after the USOC search had already begun. She oversees the USGA’s global content and media distribution, marketing and communications, content development, PR, sponsorships, hospitality and merchandise/licensing. Hirshland in a statement called the Olympics a “source of inspiration and admiration on every continent on earth.” She said, “To be invited to lead the Olympic and Paralympic community in the United States, to be associated with Team USA, and to have the honor and privilege of serving America’s athletes is an absolute dream come true. I also recognize the challenges ahead as we navigate this critical moment in the USOC’s history."
Prior to joining the USGA, Hirshland was Senior VP/Strategic Business Development at Wasserman Media Group in LA. She also worked in the agency’s consulting division. She was among the first employees of Raleigh-based OnSport before it was acquired by Wasserman in '02. She was also a founding employee of Total Sports in Raleigh. LA28 Chair and Wasserman Founder Casey Wasserman called Hirshland “exactly the right person” to lead the USOC. “I look forward to reteaming with Sarah plus the entire team at the USOC to deliver a new Games for a new era that benefit athletes and our communities alike, and connect the Olympic and Paralympic movements to the future,” Wasserman said.