July 19, 2017 – USA Triathlon (USAT), the national governing body for the sport of triathlon, has enlisted executive search firm Nolan Partners to help find its next chief executive officer. Chad Biagini, managing director of North America for the recruiters, is leading the assignment.
USAT is looking for a strong business leader with a proven background of driving engagement, affinity and successful brand building. Innovation, strategic leadership and expertise in digital and consumer marketing are essential to the role.
“We’re extremely proud of our accomplishments over the last several years, including our first-ever Olympic gold medal by Gwen Jorgensen, and the amazing performances by our Paralympians, in Rio de Janiero,” said Barry Siff, USAT president. “These were shining moments for our country and our sport. We now aspire to continue that legacy of high achievement, as well as so many other positives, while significantly growing this great sport.”
The Incoming Leader
“Our next CEO has an exciting task in front of her or him,” said Mr. Siff. “For example, our membership growth strategy includes increasing the number of women and youth partaking in events nationwide. And while USA Triathlon has long been associated with Olympic-distance racing, and Ironman is certainly an iconic brand in triathlon, this sport is also about sprint-distance and short-course racing, and emphasizing inclusivity and fun. Triathlons can, and should, be approachable and achievable by anyone.”
USAT seeks a growth-oriented CEO who will enhance overall participation in triathlons nationwide, said Mr. Biagini. “We want to see more athletes become triathletes,” he said. “When most people think ‘triathlon’ they think Ironman and Olympic distances. USAT is of course proud of that level of athleticism. However, triathlons also include sprints and short-course races. This CEO will help to shift the narrative around what it means to be a triathlete and grow the sport at all levels.”
Nolan Partners will present finalists in early August, said Mr. Biagini. The new CEO should is expected to be selected by the end of the month.
The incoming leader is required to have sound operational and financial management skills with significant multi-million-dollar budgetary oversight experience and a track record of successful budget control, Mr. Biagini said. The right candidate must also be able to form effective working relationships with a diverse range of organizations and stakeholders.
Based in Colorado Springs, USAT is also the national governing body for duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, it sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world.
Sports Recruiting Finds Its Own Field of Dreams
Sports teams, from the professional level on down to college athletic programs, all now require a strong professional talent base. It’s not surprising that dozens of search firms compete hard for every plum assignment that surfaces.
Sports & Executive Search
Nolan Partners, founded in 2006, focuses exclusively on clients in sports and sports-related sectors. The firm has conducted more than 250 senior executive placements across 16 sports, including swimming, tennis, race-car driving, cricket, rugby and football/ soccer.
The firm works with clients that include world-renowned sports clubs, governing bodies, professional leagues, venues, broadcasters and major corporate organizations involved in sports. Among them: the NBA, Liverpool FC, Chelsea FC, Aspire Zone, beIN Media Group, the NFL, Rugby League International Federation, Mercedes Formula One, Wimbledon and Manchester United FC.
Given the search industry’s knack for finding a need and filling it, it was only natural that recruitment firms would soon step to the fore in the sports sector, which has become a growth area for executive search businesses. Many C-suite focused recruiting firms are now active in the sector and some specialize only in the sports field itself. These include, in addition to Nolan Partners: SRi, Turnkey, CarrSports Consulting, Korn Ferry, Harvard Group International, Prodigy Sports, Marquee Search, DHR International, Hartmann Mason, College Sports Solutions, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Ascension Sports Partners, Russell Reynolds Associates, Diversified Search, Odgers Berndtson, Eastman & Beaudine, Alden Associates, Parker Executive Search, Neinas Sports Services and Collegiate Sports Associates.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media