It shouldn't have been much of a surprise to see IMG tap Doug Perlman to lead its North American business. After all, Perlman has long been seen as one of the sports industry's brightest young stars.
This marks Perlman's third year gracing this list, placing him in the exclusive Hall of Fame category. Still, the thought of Perlman working for someone other than the NHL is jarring. For 11 years, Perlman ascended the league's ranks, ultimately winding up as executive vice president of media.
"It was 11 great years," Perlman said. "When I started there, I was young and single. I grew up there."
In the first couple of months since he's been on the job at IMG, Perlman has experienced something of a culture shock, realizing the many different tentacles IMG has. During a meeting in the middle of February, Perlman found out that IMG has repped the Nobel Prize for the past 25 years.
"There's not a day where people don't tell me that IMG owns this company or that company," Perlman said.
Perlman was one of several high-profile hires chairman and CEO Ted Forstmann made in the past several months to build IMG into a media powerhouse. He hired Ian Todd from Nike to be president of IMG International and NBC's Peter Lazarus to be senior vice president of business development. Tim Rothwell and Bruno Maglione also came on board as managing directors of worldwide licensing and consumer products.
At the end of his NHL stint, Perlman cut long-term television and satellite radio deals for the league. He's expected to bring that discipline to IMG, as well as grow the company's presence with new media and mobile applications.
"I'm a big believer in the opportunities presented by mobile applications," Perlman said.
Perhaps the most impressive piece of Perlman's résumé is the affection his old NHL colleagues still have for him. Speaking of his respect for his young protégé, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "I knew Doug was going to be successful after watching him address the board of governors for the first time."
— John Ourand