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USOC reorganizes staff to focus on starting TV network

November 2008

The U.S. Olympic Committee reorganized part of its management team, a move that will allow chief operating officer Norm Bellingham more time to focus on starting an Olympic television network sometime in the next few months.

When the USOC hires a new chief marketing officer to replace Rick Burton, who resigned earlier this month, that person will report to CEO Jim Scherr instead of Bellingham. Bellingham is in charge of developing the TV network. Last month, he said the long-planned network could be up and running in 100 days.

"We've reached a critical juncture in that effort, we've got a lot of momentum and a great deal of progress is being made," USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said Wednesday. "In fairness to Norm, we need to give him the opportunity to focus almost exclusively on that."

Seibel said there is no specific timetable in which to fill Burton's old job. Scherr, meanwhile, will oversee the federation's marketing and development programs even after the new COO is hired.

Another part of the restructuring calls for dividing the USOC sports division into two sections: one for operations and logistics and another for athletes and national governing bodies.

Operations will be run by Steve Roush, who oversaw the entire sports division through the Beijing 2008 Olympics. A leader for athletes and NGBs should be chosen by the end of 2008.

Seibel said none of these restructuring moves will result in job losses and neither were done because of tough economic times.

Last month, however, Scherr acknowledged that the USOC was taking a second look at its 2009 budget. Though the USOC is in solid financial shape, Scherr used the words "very stringent" and "prudent on the expense side" to describe the 2009 budget. He said administrative cutbacks were possible.

The budget is expected to be approved at the board of directors' meeting in December 2008 in California.

Meanwhile, Bellingham has been in New York several times in the past weeks trying to finalize a deal that would bring the USOC's long-held vision of its own TV network to fruition.

The idea came up two years ago and was given a working title, the U.S. Olympic Sports Network. The plan is to air live events and archival footage, along with a few shows that mix sports and lifestyle topics.

The goal is to increase exposure for Olympic sports, many of which are quickly forgotten once the games end.

The USOC had wanted to have the network up and running before 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Now, if Bellingham's recent projections are correct, it will be online for the Winter Games in Vancouver, the 2010 Olympics.

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Selection Committee for CEO of USOC in 2009Edit

Leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee picked the team that will search for a new CEO, hoping to replace Stephanie Streeter by the end of 2009.

The organization hired executive search firm Spencer Stuart and named its nine-person selection committee, which will be headed by chairman Larry Probst and board members Bob Bowlsby and Mike Plant.

Streeter is not be a candidate for the job on a permanent basis, but was committed to staying in the position through the Vancouver Olympics. The USOC board later decided it wanted a new CEO in place by Dec. 31, 2009.

"The goal is still to get someone in place by the end of the year," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said. "The other goal is to also ensure that the search is done thoroughly and in a detailed way."

The new CEO will have a major rebuilding project, trying to bring international credibility and domestic harmony to a federation that has been in turmoil since Streeter surprisingly replaced Jim Scherr in March.

The selection committee includes representatives from five USOC constituent groups: Phil Godfrey of the Multi-Sport Organizations; Micki King of the U.S. Olympians Association; Trygve Myhren from Paralympics; Dave Ogrean from the National Governing Bodies Council and Nina Kemppel and Matt Van Houten from the Athletes Advisory Council.

In interviews earlier this month, NBC Universal Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol said he didn't think the USOC needed a search firm to identify strong candidates for the job, who he believes must already have experience in Olympic circles.

"We'll never be considered a major player in the international Olympic movement until we have people who have the skill set that fits that world, and can get around the American business community, as it applies to sponsorships," Ebersol said.

Source: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/more/10/29/usoc.search.ceo.ap/index.html#ixzz0VR4AAcM5

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