October 6, 2022 – Over the last quarter century, 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. Much of that has forever changed. Teams with tremendous 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.
Just recently, Prodigy Search, a boutique recruiting firm serving the talent needs of media, sports, and entertainment organizations, was retained by the FIFA World Cup 2026 (FWC2026) to launch the search for its first full-time executive, a chief human resources officer. “It’s an absolute honor to have been granted the privilege of working with FIFA World Cup 2026 and the North American organizing committee as they look to recruit one of their first key senior executive hires for 2026,” said Scott Carmichael, founder of Prodigy Search. “As the first of hundreds of hires leading into FWC2026 – which will be the greatest, most attended/watched event in the history of global sports – the chief human resource officer will play a major role in constructing the organizational structure across North America over the coming three and a half years.”
“A great level of gratitude goes out to Dan Flynn, senior executive advisor for FWC2026, for his trust in our extensive body of work, and we look forward to extending our tremendous relationship with Dan and FIFA’s global executive team over the coming years,” Mr. Carmichael said.
This CHRO is a key executive leadership role at FWC2026 and will be charged with setting the direction for and serving as a trusted advisor on all aspects of human resources management and organizational development throughout North America. This position will attract, develop, and grow high-caliber professionals, leading the workforce culture across all 16 cities in their respective host countries—the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
The executive must have significant, senior-level knowledge and experience in all aspects of human resources leadership. The individual will manage all aspects of human resources, including talent acquisition, talent management, diversity and inclusion, learning and development, total rewards, HR operations/HRIS, workforce planning and HR analytics, and employee relations.
FIFA exists to govern football and to develop the game around the world. Since 2016, the organization has been fast evolving into a body that can more effectively serve the game for the entire world. The new FIFA is modernizing football to be global, accessible, and inclusive in all aspects. Not just on one or two continents, but everywhere.
Prodigy Search, which has been involved with the sports and entertainment business for years, is one of the sector’s leading boutiques. The firm has placed hundreds of candidates into a variety of functions and roles. It represents all disciplines, including senior management, sales, marketing, operations, and administration.
Serving Sports and Entertainment Organizations
Prodigy’s client roster reads like a Who’s Who of the sports world. It includes: the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Pittsburgh Steelers, TD Garden/Boston Bruins, AEG Worldwide, Liverpool Football Club, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Oak View Group, Live Nation, PGA TOUR, Legends, the TGR (Tiger Woods) Foundation, and Endeavor.
Aside from the traditional sports space, over the years, Prodigy Search has expanded by bringing its expertise from the traditional sports business to the “non-traditional” sports space. Prodigy Search has done work throughout the ever-expanding esports industry; sports technology industry; and education and nonprofit industries. Today, the firm’s senior partner involvement, high level of service, and transparency of process have presented opportunities to expand beyond sports and entertainment.
An industry veteran with nearly 40 years of experience in wide array of disciplines within the sports and entertainment business, Mr. Carmichael founded Prodigy Search in 2007. Prior to founding the firm, he served as head of the National Hockey League’s club marketing department for nearly 10 years.
Prodigy Search Assists United States Association of Blind Athletes in Selecting New Board
The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) has announced its new board of directors, which includes seven new appointees. Prodigy Search helped to lead the search process for the board member positions. The at-large board directors are chair Mark Ackermann, vice chair Dr. Skye Arthur-Banning, treasurer Gary Remensnyder, Secretary Amy Wasson, and David Cohen. Two independent directors, who are both new to the USABA board, are Eve Wright Taylor and Brian Eaton.
Prodigy Search assisted in the recruitment of Carlos Barron as director of security for the Major League Baseball Players Association. In this role, Mr. Barron will plan, direct, and coordinate programs relating to the protection, safeguarding, and security of company assets, employees, players, and invitees. Mr. Barron most recently served as director of security and transportation for the Houston Dynamo/Houston Dash/BBVA Stadium. He is also the founder of Salus Security Services. Earlier in his career, Mr. Barron spent nearly 25 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serving as assistant special agent in charge.
The Major League Baseball Players Association is the union that represents players on the 40-man rosters of the 30 Major League baseball teams and oversees MLB Players Inc., which exclusively represents the group commercial and licensing activities involving active players.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media