With less than a two months before the IOC visits the U.S. for a site selection visit of the Chicago 2016 bid, and with recent layoffs at the USOC, Jim Scherr, the Chief Executive officer of the USOC surprised many by resigning effective March 31, 2009.
Photo courtesy of the USOC.
Scherr, a 1988 Olympic wrestler ( competed for the NYAC), has been at the USOC since 2000, in a variety of roles. He left USA Wrestling (1999-2000), to join the USOC as its Senior Managing Director for Sports Resources. Scherr was asked in March 2003 to take over as interim CEO. Two years later, the USOC removed the word “interim”.
In an interview that I conducted with both Peter Ueberoth and Jim Scherr in Beijing in August 2008, Scherr impressed me as being on message, very focused and obviously comfortable in the role of CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Scherr provided a level of professionalism after the debacle with the Salt Lake City bidding issues.
In that interview, Jim Scherr told runblogrun how he was very happy with the new USA Track & Field CEO, Doug Logan. He also did not accept that NBC was doing anything disingenuous with their limiting of track & field on their broadcast, much to the consternation of the American viewing audience. Scherr also noted in that as Logan brought about changes in the organization of USATF, and Track & Field re entered the good graces of the USOC, perhaps we would see more coverage of our sport. It was a fascinating ten minutes.
The post Beijing time period has been less than a picnic for the USOC. They recently cut staff, in order to save $7.1 million from their $142 million budget for this year. Steve Roush, the Sports Performance head, recently resigned. Donations are down, and the direct mail pieces from the USOC keep on coming, whether one is a huge donor or a $25 or $50 a year type. As donations are the life blood of the USOC, this has caused some anxiety in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Not wasting any time, the USOC, in typical fashion, named Stephanie Streeter, a member of the USOC board of directors and former Chairman, President and CEO of
Banta Corporation, as interim CEO.
Streeter, according to the USOC release below, ” will work with Scherr during the transistion in March.” Streeter is the mother of seventeen month old twins, and currently resides in Wisconsin.
What caused the resignation? That is known to Jim Scherr and the board. There are rumors of differences of opinion with the the Chicago 2016 bid, such as no legacy for athletics, which was something discussed in the media now for some time.
The USOC is banking much on Chicago 2016, and perhaps they are seeing the challenges of the current economic times in raising sponsorship dollars when many Americans are worried about their jobs, homes and why their 401ks could not purchase a Big Mac right now.
Then, there is the reality of such a high pressured position. After making an Olympic team, leading USA Wrestling, leading the USOC through a huge re org and 110 medals in Beijing, best ever in a real Olympics (translated as a non-boycotted Olympic Games), there has got to be the time when Mr. Scherr gets up, looks in the mirror and notes that he might prefer a) golfing, b) wrestling c) a root canal without painkillers to going to another USOC board meeting.
Jim Scherr Resigns as U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer;
by Peggy Manter – U.S. Olympic Committee
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. â€“ The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced today the resignation of Jim Scherr as the organizationâ€™s Chief Executive Officer, effective March 31, 2009.
Also today, the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors appointed Stephanie Streeter, a member of the organizationâ€™s Board of Directors and the former Chairman, President and CEO of Banta Corporation, as Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Streeter will begin her duties immediately and will work with Scherr during the transition in March.
â€œThe U.S. Olympic Committee is a decidedly stronger and more effective organization today than it was six years ago, and that is due in large part to the leadership Jim Scherr has provided,â€ said USOC Chairman Larry Probst. â€œJim guided our organization through a period of unprecedented challenge and change, and did so with an unwavering commitment to enabling Americaâ€™s athletes to succeed on the field of play. We are indebted to Jim for his outstanding service to the U.S. Olympic Movement, and wish him the very best for continued success.
â€œAs we prepare now to meet a very different series of challenges and opportunities, we are extremely fortunate to draw upon the expertise and talent that Stephanie Streeter brings,â€ added Probst. â€œWorking from the strong foundation Jim has built, and with the dedicated staff at the USOC, Stephanie will make certain the organization is well-positioned to respond to the challenges that are immediately before us and enjoy continued success as we begin a new quadrennium.â€
Scherr first joined the USOC in November 2000 as Senior Managing Director for Sport Resources following a highly successful tenure as Executive Director of USA Wrestling from 1990-2000. In March 2003, he was asked to lead the day-to-day operations of the USOC as Interim Chief Executive Officer, and had the â€œinterimâ€ title removed in April 2005.
Highlights of Scherrâ€™s tenure as Chief Executive Officer include:
The 2008 U.S. Olympic Team winning 110 medals and leading the overall medal count for the fourth consecutive time at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The 110 medals are the most ever for Team USA in a full participation Olympic Games.
The 2006 U.S. Olympic Team winning 25 medals and finishing second in the overall medal count for the second consecutive time at the 2006 Torino Olympic Winter Games. The 25 medals are the most ever for Team USA in an Olympic Winter Games outside the United States.
In 2003-2004, guiding the organization through the most comprehensive reorganization of its governance and management structures in history, culminating with sweeping changes to the USOC Constitution and Bylaws and the appointment of a new, 11-person Board of Directors in May 2004.
Doubling the amount of direct financial support provided by the USOC to Americaâ€™s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, along with an expansion of the high performance services offered by the USOC to athletes and coaches.
Fiscal management that enabled the USOC to not draw upon a line of credit for the first time in at least two decades during the 2005-2008 quadrennium.
A renewed commitment to International Relations through increased engagement and partnership with the international sport community.
A commitment to drug-free competition that enabled the USOC and the United States Anti-Doping Agency to make significant strides in the fight against doping in sport, including the creation of the Partnership for Clean Competition.
â€œIt has been an honor to serve the USOC in this capacity and to lead such a talented team that believes deeply in the mission of the organization,â€ said Scherr. â€œWorking together, we have accomplished things that may have seemed impossible six years ago. And in so doing, we have ensured that the future remains equally bright for the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, as well as young people whose lives will be bettered by the opportunity to participate in sport.
â€œAs I depart the organization, I do so with gratitude for this opportunity, and I remain committed to doing all I can in support of Americaâ€™s athletes, the National Governing Bodies and the USOC.â€
Streeter brings a wealth of executive leadership and business management experience to the USOC. As Chairman, President and CEO of Banta Corporation, she led an organization with more than 8,000 employees worldwide and $1.6 billion in annual revenue.
Streeter joined Banta in January 2001 as President and Chief Operating Officer, and was named CEO in October 2002 and Chairman in April 2004. During her tenure, Banta had industry leading financial performance and the stock price more than doubled. She successfully guided Banta through its acquisition by RR Donnelley, which was completed in January 2007.
Previously, Streeter was Group Vice President for Worldwide Office Products at Avery Dennison, where she led a team of 6,500 employees with 41 operations in 27 countries. She was also COO for idealab, an internet incubator and holding company. Prior to joining Avery Dennison, Streeter held management positions with Decision Data Computer Corporation and Xerox Corporation.
An accomplished athlete, Streeter was a four year starter on the Stanford University womenâ€™s basketball team and captain her junior and senior seasons. She graduated from Stanford University in 1979 with a bachelorâ€™s degree in political science.
Streeter, 51, was named to the USOC Board of Directors in May 2004. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Chicago 2016, the Green Bay Packers, Goodyear, Kohlâ€™s Corporation and Catalyst, the leading professional womenâ€™s research and advisory organization.
â€œAs a member of the Board of Directors, I have had the opportunity to work with our talented staff and admire the passion and commitment they bring to the organization,â€ said Streeter. â€œAs the USOC begins a new chapter in its history, I look forward to working with our team to build upon the tremendous momentum and success Jim helped establish during the past six years.â€
The USOC will continue moving forward with the search for a new Chief of Sport Performance and Director of Government Relations.
For more on the USOC, please click http://www.usoc.org
For more on the sport, please click http://www.american-trackandfield.com