Blackmun '79 named U.S.O.C. CEO

by Eric Erb | 11/3/00 6:00am

Scott Blackmun '79 was named Chief Executive Officer of the United States Olympic Committee on Tuesday in replacement of Norm Blake, who resigned from the post last week. He was promoted to the position from within the USOC, where he had served as general counsel and senior managing director for sport resources.

Blackmun's appointment by U.S.O.C. Chairman Bill Hybl came in the wake of Blake's resignation last week. Blake became the first ever CEO of the U.S.O.C. last February, after working in the business world to help Promus Hotel Corp and then U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty rebound from near bankruptcy.

Blake brought his bottom line emphasis to the U.S.O.C., and met with some consternation within the committee. Some of his plans, such as the scaling of fund distribution to various sports by their medal count, were highly criticized by less fiscally-driven members of the committee.

Internal resistance was the primary reason cited for Blake's resignation, which came after he completed only nine months of his three-year contract.

Blake was nevertheless pleased with the choice of Blackmun, whom he recommended as his successor. He told the Los Angeles Times after resigning that he thinks the interests of the committee are best served by the appointment of someone familiar with the "inner workings of the organization."

Blackmun, in return, seems committed to staying on the course set by Blake.

"The senior management team believes in the vision that Norm laid out in April and that was approved by the Executive Committee," Blackmun told the LA Times.

While the general plan for the U.S.O.C. may not change under Blackmun's direction, the variation in the leadership styles of Blake and Blackmun may be the difference in its ultimate success.

As Hybl commented to the LA Times, "Norm has made some significant contributions to this organization, which I believe will be consolidated -- and I think probably even expanded upon -- by Scott, who understands the organization, has the ability to create consensus and is also a team builder."

It was for these reasons that the executive committee approved Blackmun's appointment unanimously, and that he will start work as the CEO of the U.S.O.C. immediately.

In his college years, Blackmun played four seasons of varsity soccer for the Big Green. He graduated from Dartmouth summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1979, and went on to Stanford Law School.

After graduating from Stanford Law in 1982, he took a job at Denver-based law firm Holme Roberts & Owen, where he later became a partner. He left his position there in 1994 to take a job as managing partner of the Colorado Springs branch of the prestigious Hogan & Hartson, which is the largest firm in Washington, DC.

Then in 1998, Blackmun's career path again took a turn when he left Hogan & Hartson to become General Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs at the U.S.O.C. In April 1999, he was promoted to Senior Managing Director of Sport Resources, and then on Tuesday, he became the committee's CEO.

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