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Volume 22 No. 19
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Forty Under 40: Rob Schneider

Photo: sam anise / beaux arts photography

When Rob Schneider came out of high school, he faced a compelling choice. Accept the offer to go to school at the U.S. Military Academy or enter the New York University film school, where he could chase his dream of working in the media and entertainment world.

Chief Strategy and Development Officer, Learfield IMG College

Age: 39

Born: Boston

Education: United States Military Academy at West Point, B.S.; Columbia Business School, MBA

Family: Wife, Heather; children, Leah (7) and Henry (3)

What gets you fired up? Steelers football.

You wish you knew 10 years ago: Express gratitude more often.

Profession you’d most like to attempt: Writer.

Guilty pleasure: Taco Bell.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: Bulleit Rye on the rocks.

Could not go a day without: My morning tea.

Cause supported: Headstrong Project.

Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: Mark Cuban.

Sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Telling stories about how the character and leadership developed through sports positively impacts the world.

Most thrilling/adventurous thing I’ve done: Backpacking through the Middle East at 18.

We’d be surprised to know that … : I got paid to jump out of airplanes.

Turned out that he could do both — attend West Point and still chart a professional path into media and entertainment. 

“The more I thought about it, the more I reminded myself that you can’t just wake up at 40 years of age and join the Army,” said Schneider, a graduate of Columbia University’s MBA program. “I knew that going to West Point and serving my country was something I could always be proud of.”

No, you don’t just wake up at 40 and join the Army, but you can wake up at 40 and find yourself at the controls of the leading college sports media and marketing company in the country.

Schneider oversees strategy and development at Learfield IMG College, charting the long-term course for the newly merged business. That entails seeking growth strategies, merger and acquisition opportunities and joint ventures that might enhance the firm.

His job at Learfield IMG College aligns well with his previous positions at GroupM and Courtside Ventures. Schneider has retained his position on the investment committee at Courtside, where he has been part of the team that invested in 17 early-stage sports startups, including The Athletic.

As for Learfield IMG College, their $2 billion merger is official and “a lot of the uncertainty is behind us now,” Schneider said. “We know what we are and what we can become.”

Schneider will play a significant role in both.