Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 1
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Forty Under 40

When Evan Hunt joined the staff at Meridian Management, the International Olympic Committee’s marketing arm, he knew next to nothing about the Olympics, so the executive team there handed him a video with the organization’s much-praised “Celebrate Humanity” advertising campaign. The former offensive lineman at the University of Virginia watched two ads before he was hooked.

“I thought, ‘Man, this is awesome. This is where I want to be,’” said Hunt, 35.

That was 2001, and he has been with the IOC ever since. He started at Meridian working on sponsorship sales and broadcast rights agreements for the Pan American Games, joined the IOC after it bought Meridian in 2003 and relocated from Atlanta to Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2010 to take on his current role as head of marketing development.

It’s a complex job that requires a tremendous amount of travel. His calendar over the last month included a week of travel with stops in Sochi, Russia; Atlanta; London; and Lausanne. “I learned at a very early age from my grandfather, an ER doctor, how to sleep anywhere at any time,” Hunt said.

Hunt’s travels are determined by his work, which involves selling worldwide Olympic sponsorships and ensuring that those sponsorships are fulfilled. Because it’s the Olympics, the sponsorships to some degree sell themselves. What Hunt and his marketing colleagues at the IOC do is negotiate the underlying contracts that make final deals possible.

Take Dow, for example. When the chemical company decided it wanted to join the IOC’s The Olympic Partner program in 2011, Hunt worked with the company to define its category and subcategories, flew around the world to meet with many of the 204 national Olympic committees and get them to agree to sell that category to the IOC, worked out similar agreements with organizing committees in London, Sochi and Rio, and finally worked on a binding sponsorship agreement between Dow, the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

After sponsorships like that are closed, Hunt spends time making sure the agreements are fulfilled by every NOC and organizing committee. It’s a complex task that sponsors say he excels at because of his leadership skills, deep knowledge of the Olympic movement and ability to work with executives from an array of countries with diverse business cultures.

“He collaborates with literally every country in the world, and multiple companies and leaders in a way that is engaging and inspiring,” said Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s global marketing and brand building officer. “He goes above and beyond what is expected in the pursuit of excellence. And he has a one-of-a-kind sense of ethics, fairness and integrity that engenders mutual trust and high standards of performance. In any endeavor, I would want Evan on my team.”

Age: 35
Title: Head of marketing development
COMPANY: IOC Television and Marketing Services SA
Education: B.A., University of Virginia; M.A., Virginia
Family: Wife, Leilani
Career: Joined Meridian Management in 2001, which was bought by the IOC in 2003; named to current position in 2010.
FIRST JOB: Plumber’s apprentice
Last vacation: New York, Kingston (Jamaica), Colorado
Guilty pleasure: TMZ
Best stress release: It used to be playing football, now I listen to music
Pet peeve: Dirty hardwood floors
Fantasy job: First up, with no hesitation whatsoever, I would love to be a neurosurgeon. Second, governor of the commonwealth of Virginia. Third, commissioner of the NFL.
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: Literally, work! The IOC is obviously part of a global movement, with partners and stakeholders all across the globe, so my job requires a lot of travel.