This past Thursday, Jim Scherr, CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee abruptly resigned from his post. Scherr had been the CEO for the past 6 years and had led the fight to reform the management and operations of U.S. sport federations. As CEO, his no nonsense tone and strong arm tactics led to the eventual decertification of USA Team Handball in 2006. Scherr will be replaced on an interim basis, by a member of the Board of Director’s, Stephanie Streeter.
It is not clear as to why he resigned, but several news articles speculate that it was related to the Board of Director’s desire for a CEO that can better address the financial downturn and the loss of sponsors. The USOC has lost 3 main sponsors (Kellogg, GM and Home Depot) and will be trimming it’s budget by $7 Million. Streeter is a former CEO of Banta Corporation and there are veiled references and speculation in several articles that she is better suited to coax back old sponsors and secure new ones.
Several sports federations have openly questioned whether this was actually a dismissal and have requested that the USOC Board explain what happened on a conference call next week. In particular, they would like to know how a volunteer Board Member who has hasn’t been employed full-time for two years is now moving to the paid CEO position with an annual compensation package of $560,000/year. As Scherr was a former Olympic athlete and well liked by most of the sports federations, they are also concerned as to whether this change will mean a new direction for the USOC. And by new direction this could mean more reductions in funding for minor sports like Team Handball.
Associated Press: Leaders ask USOC chairman to explain ouster: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h2bsGhk10UqqCa_cLSbzOud3U1wgD96OT4D81
Sports Illustrated: Scherr's abrupt resignation leaves questions throughout USOC: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/brian_cazeneuve/03/06/brian.cazenue/
Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph: National governing bodies' leaders skeptical Scherr left of own accord: http://www.gazette.com/articles/gilbert_49538___article.html/board_olympic.html
Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph: USOC to slash workforce, programs:
USOC: Jim Scherr Resigns as U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer: http://teamusa.org/news/article/10290