Hanold Associates Fills Key Post for the NFL

The NFL and its teams continue to look to specialist recruiters to provide the talent for their top roles. Recently, the league turned to Chicago-based Hanold Associates to find a senior vice president of executive operations for the office of the commissioner. Jason Hanold takes us inside the search.

September 6, 2019 – With the National Football League kicking off its 100th season, Hanold Associates recently placed Corey Harrison as the new senior vice president of executive operations for the office of the commissioner, Roger Goodell. Mr. Harrison will report to the league’s chief operating officer, Maryann Turcke. Jason Hanold, CEO and co-managing partner of the search firm, led the assignment.

“We were looking for talented leaders who were agile, adaptive, with high IQ and EQ who could help drive critical initiatives and key priorities for the commissioner and the league office,” said Mr. Hanold. “In partnering with Maryann Turcke, you learn that she is more about identifying great talent, and then leveraging those talents where needed most in the organization, rather than building a position description, and then finding the talent to fit within that box or framed confine. She has an incredible eye for the potential and capacity of talent.”

“Corey is an outstanding talent, with distinctive professional capabilities that are as impressive as his personality with his authentic and thriving spirit,” Mr. Hanold said. “Corey possesses exceptional dimensional talent, and we look forward to watching his career continue to thrive as it unfolds.”

Mr. Harrison joins the NFL from private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) where he was principal. He has previous experience with the White House and the U.S. Department of Defense. He earned his MBA from Yale University.

Founded in 1920, the NFL developed the model for the successful modern sports league, including extensive revenue sharing, competitive excellence, strong franchises and national distribution. Headquartered in New York City, it has offices across the globe, including the NFL media office based in Culver City, CA, and the NFL Films office based in Mount Laurel, NJ, as well as offices in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Chicago, the U.K., China, Mexico and Canada.

Veteran Recruiters

Hanold Associates, based in Evanston, IL, is a boutique search firm specializing in HR officer assignments. Mr. Hanold founded the firm in 2010. Its clients include Patagonia, Nike, the NFL, eBay, Cummins, Kohler, REI, Google, Riddell, Fossil, Carnival Corp., the UFCBlue Apron, Amazon, Under ArmourLas Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Vail Resorts, Abbott, Biogen, Great Place to Work, Electronic Arts, Godiva, Fiat-Chrysler, Bridgestone, Northwestern University, Heinz, Warburg Pincus, Medtronic, Zurich, Wikipedia, T. Rowe Price and SC Johnson, to name a few. A majority of the firm’s work is conducted on behalf of private equity concerns.

Sports and Entertainment Expansion Elevating Search Business

Over the last 25 years, the sports sector has grown into a formidable global industry. Historically, professional sports teams operated on a relatively modest level, with league officials, team owners, managers, and coaches surrounding themselves with people they knew and trusted from their own small worlds. College sports teams relied on in-house search committees and word-of-mouth recommendations. Familiarity, however, can also breed contempt.

Teams with huge followings like the Dallas Cowboys, Real Madrid and Manchester United have seen their valuations soar into the billions of dollars. That’s attracted search firms – big time. Seasoned recruiters now provide strategic planning advice, in addition to talent identification services, with the capability of applying their findings to speed along the process in the hunt for talent. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

Working with the NFL

“The NFL is continuing to elevate and evolve in all functional areas, and are an ideal partner,” said Mr. Hanold. “Maryann is an exceptional leader, who is highly transparent, authentic, action-oriented, decisive, very smart with a healthy dose of street wisdom. She gets things done and builds followership. We collectively have the diversity of the league at the forefront of our thinking as we scout for talent on behalf of the NFL.”

Hanold Associates is also at the end stages of a chief human resources officer search it is leading for the NFL. “The NFL is continuing to transform and elevate the caliber of talent at all levels,” Mr. Hanold said. “The league needs a seasoned HR leader who is accustomed to driving tough conversations, and can balance their strategic perspective with an analytical capability and the ability to execute – all this while they continue to build the requisite infrastructure to support a significant transformation. Specific industry experience is less critical than the leadership characteristics required to be credible with and influential to an incredibly accomplished stakeholder group, including the 32 club owners,” he added.

The incoming leader will oversee all of the NFL’s HR functions including organizational design, leadership development, learning, benefits, compensation, employee and labor relations, HR operations, talent acquisition and talent development.

The right candidate will be expected to bring more than 20 years of operating, financial and people leadership experience in consumer-centric, well-branded organizations, said Hanold Associates. The individual must be a “pragmatic, business-oriented leader and strategic partner who demonstrates high intellect and strong business acumen in consumer-centric organizations.” This person may not be a traditional HR officer, the firm said. “They have financial analytic capabilities and perspectives on the business beyond people,” it said. 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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