TurnkeyZRG Leads CFO Search for the Pac-12 Conference

March 30, 2023 – TurnkeyZRG was recently called in by the Pac-12 Conference to lead in its search for a new CFO. A member of the conference leadership team the CFO will guide all finance, accounting, tax, and treasury functions for the Pac-12 Conference, Pac-12 Enterprises, and all related media, digital, and sales entities.

Additionally, in partnership with the Pac-12 Strategy team, the CFO will drive the evaluation of opportunities, new initiatives, and evolving landscapes through the financial lens, including financial modeling, strategic analysis, and support for conference expansion opportunities. “The CFO, in partnership with Pac-12 Conference leadership, will work to identify and mitigate business and financial risks, provide for the safeguarding of Pac-12 Conference assets, support, and help manage strategic growth initiatives, evaluate new business models, and improve operating results within the complex and evolving landscape of college athletics,” TurnkeyZRG said. “Reporting to the commissioner, the CFO will serve as a strategic thought partner to senior management, and a principal liaison to the Pac-12 Conference’s member institutions.”

Candidates must have experience in professional or collegiate sports, higher education, and/or live entertainment strongly preferred; experience/working knowledge of higher education and/or college sports financial governance is a plus. TurnkeyZRG is looking for individuals with proven experience in successful functional and people leadership as well as strong leadership capabilities in managing and developing direct reports and working with executive leaders.  The search firm notes that candidates should have proven success in a highly entrepreneurial environment; be nimble and imaginative in identifying, analyzing, and/or evaluating new and evolving opportunities and initiatives. They must have the ability to build relationships, trust, and credibility with numerous internal and external constituents. Candidates must be communicative, collaborative, service-oriented, humble, mission-driven, with high integrity and high EQ. This person must be able to establish and model a culture reflective of those qualities within the finance department and the broader organization.

The Pac-12 was founded in 1915, making it the second oldest Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference. Rooted in academic excellence, scholarship, community, and collaboration, the Pac-12 consistently tailors its programs to meet the holistic well-being of its 7,000 student-athletes.  The Pac-12 schools are the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of Southern California, Stanford University, University of Utah, University of Washington, and Washington State University. 

The Pac 12 recently used TurnkeyZRG to recruit Quashan Lockett as chief people and inclusion officer. “The Pac-12 is committed to building a best-in-class organization and culture, and we are thrilled to have found a leader who brings a track record of success and deep experience in both human capital management and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB),” said Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff. “Our Pac-12 universities and the conference have been at the forefront of DEIB efforts, and with Quashan’s appointment we will be in a position to extend our leadership and best support our valued employees and members.”

Related: NCAA Selects TurnkeyZRG to Lead President Search

Mr. Lockett has a 17-year track record of building high performance and culturally strong organizations across the sports, entertainment, retail, technology, and hospitality industries. His career has been highlighted by delivering impactful human capital management, organization development, and business transformation strategies to organizations, teams, and stakeholders. Mr. Lockett is also the founder of Color of Sports, a purpose driven change agency whose mission is to disrupt structural inequality, build a more equitable and humanized future, and drive social change through the power of sports and entertainment.

Serving Sports, Media and Entertainment Organizations

Founded in 1996, TurnkeyZRG is a specialized talent recruitment/executive search firm filling C-level, senior-level and mid-management-level positions throughout sports, media, and entertainment. Over the past 25 years, the firm has filled more than 1,400 positions. TurnkeyZRG helps teams, leagues, stadiums, arenas, theaters, college athletic departments, events, sponsors, agencies, media companies, private equity companies and other clients identify, recruit, and hire the best management talent.

TurnkeyZRG Assists the Atlantic Coast Conference in Finding New Commissioner
TurnkeyZRG has assisted the Atlantic Coast Conference in the selection of James J. Phillips, the Combe Family vice president for athletics & recreation at Northwestern University, as its next commissioner.

The ACC conducted a comprehensive, inclusive nationwide search process facilitated by TurnkeyZRG. The firm spoke with stakeholders across the ACC in developing the job description, and assembled a diverse array of candidates across sports, education, business and government. 

“Jim is one of the most talented athletic administrators in the country and uniquely qualified to successfully and seamlessly take over the helm of the ACC,” says ACC board chair Kent Syverud (Syracuse University). “Over the course of nearly 13 years, Jim has elevated and cemented Northwestern’s position as an outstanding Power 5 athletics program. Northwestern’s ascension in the world of intercollegiate athletics is a testament to Jim’s vision, leadership and foundational dedication to the success of student athletes. The ACC is fortunate to have someone of Jim’s caliber and integrity lead the conference at this pivotal moment in intercollegiate athletics.”

Collectively, the members of TurnkeyZRG have placed coaches and athletics directors at many PAC-12 universities, including Arizona, Cal, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, and Washington State. Late last year, TurnkeyZRG helped the ACC hire its next commissioner, James J. Phillips, the Combe Family vice president for athletics and recreation at Northwestern University. TurnkeyZRG spoke with stakeholders across the ACC in developing the job description, and assembled a diverse array of candidates across sports, education, business, and government.

Len Perna is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Turnkey. He has 30-plus years’ experience in the sports and entertainment industry, with senior-level management experience in sales, event marketing and management, sponsorships, venue feasibility and development, facility operations, licensing, and legal affairs. Since founding Turnkey, Mr. Perna has managed over 1,400 executive searches.

Related: TurnkeyZRG Assists Pac-12 Conference with Chief People and Inclusion Officer

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

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