October 23, 2020 – Chicago-based Hanold Associates HR & Diversity Executive Search has placed Omar Brown as chief people and culture officer for the Big Ten Conference, the nation’s oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference. Jason Hanold, Lisa Butkus and Mayank Parikh led the assignment.
“Commissioner Kevin Warren is an exceptional leader who is bringing business sophistication to a 125-year-old conference powerhouse,” said Mr. Hanold. “As the new chief people and culture officer, Omar Brown has the capability to help build that sophistication from an HR perspective, while serving as a trusted talent partner to Kevin. He was the first candidate introduced and immediately achieved natural alignment with Kevin and the broader Big Ten leadership team.”
Mr. Brown comes to Big Ten from Deloitte where, as a member of the organization transformation practice, he spearheaded organizational change and improvement for client companies. In this role, he led diversity and inclusion initiatives in-house and for clients. Before that, Mr. Brown was vice president of human resources with the Chicago Transit Authority. Earlier in his career he held various positions with the University of Illinois, the city of Chicago and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
In his role with the Big Ten Conference, Mr. Brown will oversee all aspects of the people function and human capital aspects of the organization. Reporting directly to the commissioner of the Big Ten, Mr. Brown will partner on all people and culture strategies, shaping the broader organization to be more agile and efficient as it evolves.
Hanold Associates said that this “key leadership role will have a profound impact on the cornerstone goals of the Big Ten: empowering athletes, winning the hearts of fans, creating a stable financial position and building relationships with Big Ten constituents.”
The Big Ten is a national leader in intercollegiate athletics, on and off the field. The conference started in 1895 with leaders from universities developing an organized set of principles for the regulation of intercollegiate athletics. Today, the Big Ten comprises 14 member schools across two divisions, as well as two associate members. These schools compete in up to 28 official conference sports, 14 each for men and women. Big Ten programs have combined to win more than 450 team and 1,800 individual national championships. The business operations of the Big Ten are headquartered in Rosemont, IL. The organization has about 60 employees, with a five-person office in New York City.
Hanold Associates is a boutique executive search firm focused on HR and diversity and inclusion officers. Its client list is diverse across industries, geographies and business scenarios, and culture is at the core of everything the firm does. Its clients include the National Football League, Zoom, Domino’s Pizza, Under Armour, Patagonia, Gucci, The New York Times, Tom Brady’s TB12, Kohler, REI, Live Nation Entertainment, Dick’s Sporting Goods, McDonald’s, Major League Baseball, Kellogg, Apollo, Big Ten Conference, Blackstone, TPG, L Catterton, Northwestern University, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Electronic Arts, Fiat-Chrysler, SC Johnson, eBay, Moderna, Hillrom, Great Place To Work, Fossil, Vail Resorts, AbbVie, Carnival Corp., Biogen, Allstate, Bridgestone, Wikimedia, ClubCorp, Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Ford Motor Company, among others.
With the addition of this new role, professional baseball continues to up its game. Connectivity and the interplay between diversity & inclusion and HR is designed to help MLB deliver a more holistic talent strategy and perspective. Let’s go inside the search.
Ms. Butkus is a partner. She specializes in recruiting executive level HR leaders across industries, and with a core focus on fashion, luxury brands, retail merchandise and the broader consumer industry.
Mr. Parikh focuses on recruiting world-class HR leadership talent to organizations undergoing significant transformations. He’s held progressive roles within the firm, having first joined the firm as a summer intern while a student at Northwestern University.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media