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Volume 21 No. 2
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Forty Under 40

Marc Jenkins grew up dreaming of working in finance, but he landed in sports after never seeing the sunlight in his job trading derivatives.

“We were on the fourth floor, so I literally never saw the sun,” Jenkins said, recalling his days in the late ’90s arriving at Morgan Stanley before sunrise and departing long after dusk. “I guess you could say I wanted some work-life balance.”

Jenkins’ quest for that led him to leave Morgan Stanley in 2001 for a position as general counsel for the Chicago White Sox. It was there that he first learned the sports business by working on deals like U.S. Cellular’s naming-rights agreement at the team’s ballpark and the creation of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

In 2006, he left that role and followed his law school roommate and former White Sox colleague Eric Nyquist to NASCAR. It’s a move that’s put him at the center of one of the sport’s most significant initiatives in recent years.

Jenkins last year ran point on NASCAR’s reacquisition of its digital rights from Turner Sports, and his new role as the sanctioning body’s vice president of digital media means he will spearhead its development of a new that it owns and controls. He will be the primary architect of everything from the size of the staff to what the site will look like and feature.

Those who know him best say NASCAR tapped the perfect man for the job.

“Marc matches his intelligence with a sense of reality about what it is that they’re trying to do, both the challenges and the benefits,” said Matt Hong, Turner Sports’ general manager, who negotiated opposite Jenkins last year. “They’re looking to leverage digital to grow the sport, and Marc knows what needs to be done. It’s about executing, and he’ll do well.”

Age: 39
Title: Vice president, digital media
Education: B.A., city planning, University of Virginia, 1994; J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1997
Family: Wife, Natalie; daughters Ryann (4) and Sierra (11 months)
Career: Cravath, Swaine & Moore, associate, mergers and acquisitions (1997-99); Morgan Stanley, associate, currency/fixed income (1999-2001); Chicago White Sox, general counsel (2001-06); joined NASCAR in 2006
First job: Shoveling snow
Last Vacation: Arizona
what's on your ipod? Neil Young, Dave Matthews
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate chip cookies
Best stress release: Sailing
Pet peeve: Lack of intellectual curiosity
Fantasy job: America’s Cup skipper
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: The future for my family
Business advice: Eat your own dog food