APNewsBreak: Brown turns down IndyCar CEO job
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Zak Brown has turned down an offer to become CEO of IndyCar Series, choosing instead to remain with the motorsports marketing company he founded.
Brown told The Associated Press on Tuesday he informed Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles of his decision not to take the top job with IndyCar. He'll instead relocate in July to England to continue the growth of his Zionsville, Ind.-based agency, Just Marketing International.
"I'm a huge fan of IndyCar, it's a great product and it certainly would have been a great opportunity and challenge,'' Brown said. "I have no doubt Mark Miles and the team he forms will lead the series down a path of success - and we at JMI will continue to do our part to support IndyCar.
"I'm committed to JMI, excited about our future and therefore unable to pursue any other opportunities. Mark is fully aware of my passion for IndyCar and my desire to contribute to the series' success in any way I can, but at this time that cannot be in the CEO role.''
Brown had been contemplating leaving Indiana for London when discussions began earlier this year with Miles about a potential role for Brown in IndyCar. Miles, hired late last year as head of IndyCar's parent company, had said Brown had made it clear "his only interest would be if we put the pieces together and he was the head of racing.''
The courtship dragged on for months, and on Monday the series announced longtime motorsports veteran Derrick Walker had been hired as head of competition reporting directly to Miles. Brown said Walker's hiring had nothing to do with his decision.
"I think Mark's first task at hand is getting the organizational structure correct and the right people in the right roles, and I think he's well on his way with getting good people in place,'' Brown said. "Certainly Derrick Walker is a highly experienced individual that can contribute to IndyCar's growth.''
The timing of the courtship by IndyCar was complicated by the revelation in late March that Spire Capital Partners was trying to sell its 60 percent ownership stake in JMI. Spire purchased its share in 2008, and Brown still owns 20 percent along with advertising agency WPP.
Spire's desire to sell clouded JMI's future at the same time Brown was trying to make a decision about what he wanted to do with his career. Although Spire has made no announcement about its plans for JMI, Brown seemed confident Tuesday his place is leading JMI into the future.
"I have invested my entire business life into JMI, I've got great partners in Spire Capital and WPP, and the best group of employees,'' Brown said. "Collectively we've all turned JMI into market leaders. Motorsports and our business has never been stronger and we have some very exciting opportunities ahead of us, which gets me very excited about our future and I have a strong desire to continue to lead JMI as I've done for the past 17 years.''
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