The IAAF today (Aug 17) announced the appointment of new CEO, Olivier Gers, following a six-month search which attracted more than 200 potential candidates from around the globe in sport, business and entertainment.
Olivier Gers, 46, has more than 20 years of commercial, marketing and media experience, leading large global teams in creating revenue driven products, networks and brands. Currently Global President of LiquidThread, a division of Publicis Media Group, in the UK, Gers spent 15 years in the United States in leadership roles with FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide and as Global Head of IMG Digital Media in New York before heading to the UK in 2010 as CEO of Endemol Worldwide Brands. A native Frenchman, Gers has a track record of revenue growth and harnessing the power of digital platforms to drive marketing innovation and profitability.
Commenting on the appointment, IAAF President, Sebastian Coe said: “The IAAF is on a mission to change. We looked for a CEO with the energy, passion and experience to lead the organisation and, together with the Council and the Congress, drive the sport to be the best that it can be. Olivier’s experience in leading global teams, working with world-class brands and businesses and developing and creating digital products and platforms is exactly what we need.”
Arriving in Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Olivier Gers said: “Sport is the purest expression of human possibility and all sport is anchored in the disciplines of athletics. The IAAF is at a challenging and exciting junction. It is a multi-million dollar business that needs to stay relevant, build its fan base and re-establish trust,” he said.
“Sitting at the heart of the sport are the athletes and their remarkable achievements. Bringing the global athletes and their fans closer together through technology is the ultimate goal to driving the business of athletics forward and I believe my commercial, marketing and digital experience will help to achieve this.”
Gers will be at the Rio Games until 21 August, attending the IAAF Council Meeting on 20 August. He will start his new role as CEO of the IAAF on 1 October 2016.
Coe added: “My thanks go to Jean Gracia, who stepped in as General Secretary on a temporary basis at the beginning of the year. He has been instrumental in stabilising and restructuring the organisation and keeping the focus on delivering four world championships this year in Portland, Cardiff, Rome and Bydgoszcz. Olivier and I are delighted that he has agreed to remain with us to help with the transition and support Olivier in his new role.”