Forty Under 40: Eric Guthoff
Title: Founding partner
Where born: Yonkers, N.Y.
Education: Miami (Ohio) University (B.S., zoology)
Family: Wife, Elyssa; son, Maxwell (1)
Favorite way to unwind: Being with friends and family.
Causes supported: Ivy Sports Symposium, UJA Sports for Youth.
Most thrilling/adventurous thing I’ve ever done: Move to China for two years to oversee operations for J&J’s Olympic sponsorship of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Adam Silver.
If I could change jobs with anyone for a day, it would be: Anyone at or near the top of the United Nations.
2015 will be a good year if: There is the same level of collaboration in government as there is in business.
My fellow Forty Under 40 class members would be surprised to know that I: Was the foosball champion at Miami of Ohio.
For so many who work in the industry, there was an epiphany through which their love of sports morphed into a career. For GlideSlope co-founder Eric Guthoff, it happened just after college. He helped fashion a tour of every MLB ballpark, used it to help spread the word on the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco, and got
Forty Under 40 editor Mark Mensheha and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss this year's class, some of the more interesting stories in it and how the selection process works.
“I didn’t know you could build a career in the business of sport until then,” he said.
That fall, Guthoff was in medical school, but he found his passion for sports and marketing dwarfed by his classmates’ ardor for medicine. So Guthoff sent out a mailing and ended up with an internship at Octagon, where he got bitten by the global bug. Octagon sent him to Sydney to work on the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. Next came a two-year stint at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Guthoff shifted to IMG, which eventually resulted in him moving to China for two years to head Johnson & Johnson’s activities around the 2008 Summer Games. Dave Mingey was then J&J’s director of Olympic marketing, and as the two became acquainted, they saw a void in the market. The result was GlideSlope, founded in 2010. The concept is simple, but one that is rarely put into practice: thinking about strategy before buying sponsorship assets, getting buy-in from across the sponsoring corporation, and formulating strategy based on analytics and consumer insights.
Big brands noticed quickly. Pepsi was an original client, quickly followed by Dow Chemical and Citi for Olympic work. Since 2010, the agency has grown to around 20 people, with clients including Procter & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch, and Bridgestone. Guthoff specializes in business development and recruiting.
“We want all of our people to be both interested and interesting,” he said. “Everyone looking to get in this business should think about that.”
— Terry Lefton