Turmoil Over Scherr Firing? By Larry Eder


In a copyrighted article from the Denver Post, it is evident that the word has gotten out that the "decision" by Jim Scherr, the former USOC CEO was the work of the a) board and b) may have been self serving for the board. The article, http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_11928620, suggests that the turmoil within the USOC has just begun.

Beset with the challenges of Chicago 2016, a frightening global economy and pressures to cut staffing and costs, it has become obvious that the USOC board pressured Jim Scherr to resign. Stephanie Streeter was named interim CEO. This "personal decision" began to show its Machiavellian roots pretty soon after the USOC press release less than two weeks ago. The person who seems most responsible for that is Larry Probst, who recently replaced Peter Ueberroth as USOC chairman.

Several of the USOC related sports governing bodies were aghast with the recent decision and also there were suggestions of conflict of interest for the interim CEO, Stephanie Streeter, former CEO and Chairman of the Banta corporation, and a known foe of Mr. Scherr. Ms. Streeter has defended the moves by the USOC board, as typical business board room protocol. What, dear reader, does that mean?

The governing bodies are concerned about the ethical look of the situation. With the recent economic situations accelerated by some businesses' focus on short term profit above all else, federations are rightly concerned about how the USOC looks at this time. The word "Olympian" , as interpreted by the American public is a "higher authority" and a "higher level" of behavior. Typical board room politics will not be accepted in this day of AIG and other "typical" business actions that cross the ethical line of most Americans.

Perception equals reality in the Olympic chess game and Chicago 2016 could be hurt by a negative feeling over the USOC. Changing CEO's just before an important vote is being looked upon by many as surprisingly poor timing at best and just plain global sports suicide at worst.

Doug Logan, the CEO of USATF, a man who had the support of both Peter Uerberroth and Jim Scherr in his nine months at the helm of USA Track & Field said the following to the Denver Post: "I think too much minutiae is being attempted, trying to look under a rock with regard to people's motives," Logan said. "I can give you countless examples of where boards have reached from within. Boards generally pick people they think are the most adept, competent, and have the tools to do the job."

Minutae perhaps, but as Doug Logan knows, perception and reality are intertwined in the global sports business and this is not one of the USOC's greatest hours.

For more on the USOC, check http://www.usoc.org

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