CONCACAF brought in Korn Ferry to advise on key qualifications for the position and manage a public search before presenting a list of candidates to the Confederation’s senior management.
Mr. Lesende brings over 20 years of international experience in finance and strategy, driving and implementing aggressive growth agendas for multinational companies. He has a proven track record in corporate finance, operational improvement, governance, reporting and controlling. His background also includes in-depth work in organizational restructuring, supply chains, sales and marketing operations.
Mr. Lesende joins CONCACAF from The Clorox Company, where he was a strategic advisor for new business development in Latin America. Previously, he worked in several financial and strategic executive roles at Avon Products and Unilever.
Embracing Cultural Change
As chief financial and administration officer. Mr. Lesende will have direct oversight of the departments of finance and accounting, communications, information technology, brand marketing, and human resources. He will work side-by-side with the chief officers of the organization’s football operations, commercial, and legal and compliance divisions. Mr. Lesende will lead the division of finance and administration, providing overall financial management in accordance with the regulations of the organization.
“As CONCACAF continues embracing cultural change, we are very pleased to welcome Mr. Lesende to our new management team at a time when we are consolidating the Confederation as a competitive, efficient and solid organization for the benefit of our 41 member associations, partners and fans,” said CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani. “We are confident that Mr. Lesende will bring a wealth of experience to this important role, while improving CONCACAF’s business operations and helping drive sustainable growth.”
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football is the continental governing body for association football covering these three regions. Three South American entities — the independent nations of Guyana and Suriname and the French department of French Guiana are also members. CONCACAF’s primary functions are to organize competitions for national teams and clubs, and to conduct World Cup qualifying tournaments.
Korn Ferry’s sports practice is led by Jed Hughes, who has distinguished himself as an expert in identifying, assessing, and developing leaders. His relationships within sports and intercollegiate athletics are extensive, having spent 20 years coaching in professional and intercollegiate football and working for five Hall of Fame coaches.
The firm’s sports practice has conducted a number of prominent searches in the field, including commissioner for the National Football League (NFL) as well as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee. It has also been active filling head coaching and general manger roles for both professional and collegiate sports teams. Korn Ferry recently assisted the Cleveland Browns with the hiring of Hue Jackson as its new head coach as well as tapping Derek Falvey as executive vice president and chief baseball officer for the Minnesota Twins.
Mr. Hughes’ highest profile placements include New York Jets GM John Idzik; Mark Murphy, CEO of the Green Bay Packers; Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12; Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12; and Dave Brandon and Jim Harbaugh as athletic director and head football coach of the Michigan Wolverines, respectively. He has also conducted searches for the USOC, LPGA, PGA of America, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Arsenal Football Club, Liverpool Football Club, Ohio State, ATP Tour, and Women’s Tennis Association, among others.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media