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Volume 20 No. 42
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Forty Under 40

Four years ago, when Subway CMO Tony Pace needed help, he inquired at OMD, his media and sports marketing agency. “Give me three people,” he asked. Ray Katz, then at OMD, said there was only one choice and told him about an NBA salesman named Paul Bamundo.

“My recommendation was based on knowing Tony for 25 years and knowing Paul’s character, intelligence and humility,” said Katz, now a managing partner at Source1 Sports. “He was a great fit, and they are a great fit.”

Bamundo and Pace each have Wharton MBAs; they also share a combination of learned and instinctive marketing. “There’s a good mind meld between us,” laughed Pace.

Subway was the marketing slot Bamundo had been training for since his youth. A summer job digging ditches convinced him that he didn’t want to do manual labor for a living.

So it was off to the marketing trenches: a marketing B.S. and MBA, an apprenticeship with Procter & Gamble and stints with IMG and the NBA, before Katz’s recommendation helped him land at Subway in 2008.

During his first job interview, Bamundo recalls feeding Pace information about Olympian Michael Phelps while Pace was talking into his phone. A few laps later, Bamundo was negotiating his first athlete endorsement for Subway with the Olympic swimmer.

“I love negotiating, and Tony sold me on the concept that Subway was just scratching the surface,” Bamundo said.

Starting with Phelps, Bamundo has built a stable of a dozen or so “Famous Fans,” many of whom, like Ryan Howard and Blake Griffin, have gone on to remarkable achievements in their respective sports. With Pace, Bamundo concocts an artful mix of athletes, properties and media, spending with enough judiciousness and frugality that Subway won the Sports Business Award for Sponsor of the Year in 2011.

“We have 25,000 [domestic] locations and we need to drive [restaurant] traffic, so we like big media and big personalities,” Bamundo said. “But we only spend when we need to.”

Age: 39
Title: Director of sports marketing and partnerships
Education: B.S., business management and marketing, Cornell University, 1994; MBA, Wharton School of Business, 1999
Family: Wife, Claire; son Dylan (17 months)
Career: P&G field marketing; Anderson and Booz Allen consulting; IMG; NBA director of marketing partnerships; Subway
First job: Procter & Gamble field sales intern
Last vacation: London and France last spring
what's on your ipod? Rush, Foo Fighters, Frank Sinatra
guilty pleasure: Karaoke
best stress release: Reading before bed
pet peeve: Lack of integrity in business
fantasy job: Yankees center fielder
what keeps you awake at night? My 17-month-old son, Dylan
business advice: Always be selling.