April 23 (Reuters) - USA Track & Field (USATF) has named marketing specialist Max Siegel, a former board member with extensive ties to sports and entertainment, as its new chief executive on Monday.
His selection comes at a crucial time for the organization as it prepares for the July 27-Aug. 12 London Olympics.
The 47-year-old founder of Indianapolis-based Max Siegel Inc succeeds interim CEO Mike McNees, who had filled that role since the firing of embattled chief executive Doug Logan in 2010.
“Countless members of the track & field community had suggested that we consider Max for the position, citing his success as an executive, his rolodex and his ability to bring people together to get things done,” Stephanie Hightower, USATF’s president and chair, said in a statement.
Siegel received a two-year contract and will begin work on May 1.
“This sport has it all: charismatic stars, great stories, unmatched diversity, grassroots participation in the tens of millions, a multi-billion-dollar sporting-goods industry, and a passionate base,” said Siegel.
“Connecting those dots is what the board, our staff and volunteers will work together to achieve.”
USATF’s first black CEO, Siegel and his firm have been under contract to USA Track & Field since October to revamp its marketing, sponsorship and broadcasting. He served on the USATF board from February 2009 until resigning in September 2011.
While some in the Olympic community raised concerns about that hiring being a conflict of interest, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said Siegel would have his organization’s full support in his new role.
“Having a CEO in place will add a measure of stability as we complete our preparations for London,” said Blackmun. “Max will have our full support and we look forward to working with USATF as they continue to refine their governance model and find ways to enhance the effectiveness of the organization.”
Siegel’s background includes the presidency of global operations for motor racing’s Dale Earnhardt Inc, one of NASCAR’s leading franchises, and as a music company executive where he helped oversee the careers of such stars Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Usher.
Hall of Famers Tony Gywnn (baseball) and the late Reggie White (American football) have been among his sports clients. (Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)