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Subject: RE: Max Siegel named CEO of USA Track & Field
My quick thoughts on the hire.
As for being formerly on the Board and now being CEO I don't blame Max Siegel for that. That solely is the Board's decision. They knew who they were hiring and the criticism it would generate from some quarters.
How about this: Max joins the USATF board. The board is large, Max is only one guy on it. Even if it is somewhat dysfunctional he's only one member on it so he stays on board.
He sees his company can help with marketing USATF so he gets hired partly because of his contacts on the Board. He then quit the USATF Board as he should.
Then from USATF's perspective he does a really good job with marketing and the Board starts thinking, "Why don't we just hire this guy to be CEO?" They saw his performance, he did a good job.
So they "reopen" their CEO search with his name in mind and he gets hired. This second search lasted less than a month. Considering their first one took months and they didn't hire anyone, I don't think the second search was really a search.
Max had done a good job in their minds, it was like an internship for CEO, so why not hire him. The second search was just likely a way to cover their asses and make sure some incredible candidate didn't want the job and Max's background checked out.
That's the favorable reading. A lot of people seem to respect Steve Miller on the USATF Board so hopefully that's what happened. Might be interesting to talk to former great miler Steve Holman who was on the USATF board, was on the first search committee, and resigned from the USATF board this past winter.
On the surface, the hire with a trial run, makes sense.
Now onto Max's career before this:
We need someone who knows a lot about NASCAR to chime in.
Overall profile on the guy from Notre Dame law school:
December 2006 President Dale Earnhardt Inc (DEI)
He stayed there roughly 2 years. Right after he came on board Dale Earnhardt Jr left so Siegel was fighting an uphill battle.
DEI ended up merging with another team after "New sponsorships didn't materialize"
NascarInsiders.com said don't blame him for the demise of DEI:
and he apparently left on good terms:
So he left in January 2009 to be the Diversity Czar at NASCAR. Doesn't seem like a promotion, but rather making the best of situation that may have been beyond his control.
Someone with NASCAR needs to explain the diversity program better to me. By October 2009, the diversity program was revamped and it was more of an academy with from what I can tell one minor league team owned by Max Siegel, Inc.
More here on Max Siegel Inc running the diversity program and owning the team:
That seems like a conflict of interest but I don't know NASCAR.
So maybe he didn't have an official position with NASCAR but their diversity program consisted of his team? Someone fill me in.
Here's an article that talks about how Siegel got a reality show on NASCAR on BET (that itself is impressive) and it says the level of racing is very minor league and NASCAR only funds the team up until a certain point because of the "potential for conflict of interest"
Not sure if he ever left that job as he still seems to own that team.
So lets assume the worst about NASCAR.
A less favorable reading would be Max is highly ambitious and not afraid to use one position to get another even if conflicts with some people's view of what should be done.
The people hiring in these instances are aware of the conflicts of interest and they are the ones who should have a problem with it as it could affect their organization. The conflicts of interest are pretty apparent in each instance. Corporate governance people I'm sure would have a problem with it because Board members are supposed to be serving the Company not promoting themselves.
Max could easily say, "I was on the board. I knew I could help. why wouldn't I?"
The conflicts of interest have nothing to do with how well a job Max Siegel will do. That's the big issue now. People throw out the words NASCAR and assume that automatically means he'll be a success. Siegel's tenure in NASCAR wasn't all roses and neither was Doug Logan's as CEO of MLS.
Max deserves the benefit of the doubt and hopefully his trial run the last few months means he was doing such a great job the Board decided it had to hire him.
Occam's Razor would say to accept that explanation although with the history of the Board and the firing of Logan I'm sure some of you want to go with more conspiratorial explanations.
I did notice after finding the email on the teleconference it was sent out 16 minutes before the teleconference started.
It's not like this was news they didn't control the timing of.
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