By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor
May 3, 2011: An old saying, generally attributed to "Anonymous," advises: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Nascar isn't exact broken, but in an effort to rejuvenate its presence among fans, consumers and marketing and media partners, Nascar has decided to retool its marketing, media and communications departments.
According to Nascar CEO and chairman Brian France, this is all part of a major push to driving "the sport forward in areas that serve the needs of our partners and stakeholders."
Among its bevy of moves, Nascar has formed the Nascar Innovation Group, which is charged with driving innovation and integration of new technologies, and which now falls under the leadership of Paul Brooks, who retains his role as president of Nascar Media Group; and has consolidated its intellectual property group, now under the leadership of recently promoted chief sales officer Jim O’Connell, which will oversee all assets carrying the Nascar trademark, such as partnership marketing, auto aftermarket, licensing, and all new business efforts, including official partnerships with Nascar.
Nascar has hired media veteran Steve Herbst as vp-broadcasting and global media strategy for the Nascar Media Group; and has hired Jon Schwartz from Bank of America as director of business communications Nascar’s Integrated Marketing Communications department. Schwartz' experience in sports sponsorship marketing communications also includes MasterCard and US Tobacco.
In addition, Marc Jenkins has been named vp-Digital Media, which has been realigned under marketing and to report directly to Nascar CMO Steve Phelps.
“We are committed to driving the sport forward by strengthening each aspect of the fan experience and to driving the sport forward in areas that serve the needs of our partners and stakeholders." — Nascar chairman and CEO Brian France
And Norris Scott, who oversees Nascar’s official partner marketing efforts, has been promoted to vp-partnership marketing. Scott, Blake Davidson (Licensing) and Todd Armstrong (Auto Aftermarket) all report to Jim O’Connell.
Nascar also promoted three other key executives, who also will become officers in the company:
• Jill Gregory, managing director of industry marketing, has been named vp-industry service.
• George Silbermann, managing director of racing operations, has been has been namedvp- regional and touring series. Both he and Gregory will continue to report to Steve O’Donnell, Nascar svp-racing operations.
• Marcus Jadotte, Nascar's managing director of public affairs, has been promoted to vp-public affairs and multicultural development, where he will now report to Nascar svp and General Counsel Gary Crotty on public affairs initiatives and O’Donnell on multicultural programs.
Among the changes was the departure of Andrew Giangola, who has been Nascar's director of business communications since 2003, who now is vp-strategic communications for IMG College.
“We are committed to driving the sport forward by strengthening each aspect of the fan experience and to driving the sport forward in areas that serve the needs of our partners and stakeholders," Nascar chairman and CEO Brian France said in a statement. "We’re confident the changes we have made to our internal structure and the incredible talent we’ve added in these key strategic areas will best position Nascar to drive industry growth now and in the future.”
Steve Herbst, who most recently was evp and general manager of CBS College Sports Network (now known as CBS Sports Network), will be responsible for all aspects of the Nascar's broadcast division, including management of the day-to-day relationship with broadcast partners Fox, Speed, ESPN/ABC and Turner. A vital role will be to supervise all future media rights negotiations, which currently expire after the 2014 season. Herbst, who begin his Nascar tenure this week, previously spent 19 years with the NBA in a variety of broadcast-related positions, including svp-broadcast and GM of NBA TV.
"Steve Herbst is an accomplished veteran that brings years of media and network experience to Nascar," Paul Brooks said in a statement. "From programming and production to strategic planning and rights negotiations, Steve has done it all as it relates to the world of television. We're thrilled to have him join the team and are excited about our broadcast future under his leadership and guidance."