Mark D. Miles was announced Tuesday as the incoming CEO of Hulman & Company. After the announcement, he and IndyCar/Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus met the media to explain the thoughts behind the management changes, IndyCar's future, timetables for future announcements and more.
MARK MILES: Folks, it's incredibly exciting to be here today and to be part of these announcements and to be part of this enterprise going forward. I'm delighted that you all could be here with us in person, and I'm pleased that the others are joining us by streaming. Apparently the word is getting out because I can feel the phone in my pocket exploding. News travels fast.
Feels to me like a couple days from Thanksgiving – you might excuse me taking a little latitude and beginning by thank you's, the things I'm grateful for, a little bit earlier than normal. First I want to say thanks to the Hulman-George family. For me growing up here, they have been Hoosier legends, synonymous with racing around the world. This place across the street, in particular, is so special, so much a part of our identity, and that family has been inextricably linked obviously to motor racing and to IMS and IndyCar Series.
And for me personally, they've been incredibly supportive. It's been a great pleasure to get to know them up close during my months as a board member and to see firsthand their passion and commitment to the sport and this institution.
I also want to say thanks to the other board members at Hulman & Company, all of whom I've known for a long time. I think if you look at their backgrounds, they have a remarkable diversity of business experiences and bring real strength to this enterprise.
And I want to say thank you to Jeff Belskus and his team. I have gotten to know Jeff very well. I have enormous respect for Jeff and his leadership abilities and his knowledge of these businesses and this sport of motor racing, and I have no doubt that we will work absolutely closely together as a team, and we think we can get some great things done.
Like many Hoosiers, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar are treasured parts of our heritage. I remember well as a kid, I don't think my dad ever got out-of-pocket to actually get me here in my early ages, so Memorial Day was always the family and the kids being sort of glued to the radio and listening to the race, something that was part of our family tradition, something we wouldn't have missed, and so you think to sort of my generation back then as a kid, names like Foyt and Andretti and the Unsers and Parnelli Jones and Johnny Rutherfords, et al., and then the international invasion that took place in that green car and those personalities are kind of where I check in as a fan of this sport. But most importantly through the identity or through the perspective of a person who grew up here and appreciated how much all this meant to our community.
I feel like in a way my professional experiences over my lifetime have prepared me for trying to help lead Hulman & Company I will not be the hands-on, day-to-day management of the motorsports business, but I believe I can help. Jeff [Belskus] has a lot on his plate. He'll talk about that in a moment. But I hope and believe that I can make a contribution to his being successful.
Having spent 15 years as CEO of the men's professional tennis circuit, a global league, I think there's some relevance, so let me put that into perspective, two pieces.
The first is that the circuit itself was launched in 1990. I was the first – it was three months into the circuit when I became the chief executive officer. So a start-up, new governance, and most people felt like it would fall over by the time I unpacked. It was set up to be a novel experiment in the management of a professional sport, where my board was half players and half tournament owners. My job was to lead the organization and to keep it together and to get the talent to think like owners and the owners to appreciate the perspective of talent, and to bring them together around difficult challenges with a clear and lasting consensus.
That in and of itself, I think, while the cast of characters and the sport itself is different, is very relevant to the success of the IndyCar Series, and I hope I can help Jeff with that.
We had the sanctioning body role, so we made rules, we made a calendar, we fined people, we suspended people, we did things that a governing body does for 15 years in the sport of tennis. We did marketing and promoting of the sport. We developed sponsorships that was highlighted by what became, I think, a 15-year sponsorship relationship with Mercedes-Benz. They invested more than a quarter of a billion dollars in the ATP Tour and its tournament during my tenure.
We created ATP Properties, which in London produced most of the top-level television of the sport that was sold and distributed around the world, and so we have some experience with a venture very much like the one we're standing in today.
We expanded the circuit globally, creating important tournaments in the Middle East and South America and in Asia, and we sold television rights and did business in at least 35 countries every year during this tenure.
And all that happened in the context where we had sustained solid growth. By the time we retired from tennis, the beginning of ‘06, an outside consultancy put a value on the whole enterprise of men's professional tennis as a billion-dollar industry. So that's kind of the circuit side, which I think has a parallel.
The other side of my background is in doing big events, so it's getting to be very ancient history, and I appreciate that, but the Pan-American Games that some of you were involved with 25 years ago for this community was a big deal, and I had the honor of being the president of the organizing committee.
For those of you who don't know it or remember it, it was three weekends of network television coverage, and we produced the signal for that as a committee. There are more events in it than there are in the summer Olympic Games. There were more than 4,000 athletes, coaches and trainers, more than 1,000 international journalists converging on us. Somehow it's hard to believe, but there were 36,000 volunteers, local folks that put all that together in a somewhat organized way, and we sold more than a million tickets for the events.
And, I had the real honor to be chairman of the host committee for the Super Bowl here in Indianapolis. I think it's not bragging to say that it represents the high-water mark for a long list of great sporting events that have been hosted in Indianapolis. I think our whole community was pretty proud of that. And it is widely regarded outside our community and the NFL as successful.
So there's the events side of sports that I hope prepares me for this position, and finally Jack mentioned kind of a diverse business background. I've had the privilege of serving as the director on a company called The Pantry that's traded on NASDAQ. It's over a $6 billion-a-year firm with 1,600 some convenience stores throughout I think 13 states, like 15,000 employees, a substantial, complicated operation that I think has – I've learned a lot from. And the same for a smaller enterprise but locally, the private company known as City Financial Corporation.
I hope all that prepares me for this task. I wouldn't have signed up if I didn't think I could bring value. I'm looking forward to getting started and being fully immersed in this by the end of this year. Immediately I'll set out to get to know the stakeholders, the company inside this enterprise whom I think very highly of from the outside. I will look forward to understanding, really getting beyond the board members' perspective to understanding the businesses in detail, and getting outside with Jeff to be with our customers and our stakeholders and to understand what they think about the business and figure out how we can be better aligned with those stakeholders going forward.
We want to focus on strategy development. We've got an outside group of some considerable reputation in BCG. It started previously. We think that strategic development work will be done early in the year and that will inform some of our decisions going forward.
And finally, I want to help Jeff. Jeff has done a remarkable job on this thing. As I look at 2013 for IndyCar, I think all the building blocks are in place, and I have no doubt that with Jeff's leadership, the series and the events at IMS will proceed forward without a hitch, and that will be a starting point to grow it all from here, and I'm looking very much to working with him in that regard.
So with that, it's my pleasure to introduce Jeff for his comments. Thanks.
JEFF BELSKUS: This is a very exciting time for Hulman & Company, and I'm personally excited about it for several reasons. Mark is a great addition to our team, and I'm very fortunate to have an opportunity to work with someone like Mark, and with the skill set he brings and the background he brings, I'm just very pleased.
Most importantly, having Mark tasked with the broader issues of Hulman & Company, the business side, is going to allow me to focus on the race series and the event side of our business, which I'm excited about. At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we had a great year in 2012; the Indianapolis 500 was one of the best races that people can remember, and record number of lead changes and just a really good event. We've captured and maintained a lot of the momentum from the 100th anniversary and into 2012, and we're looking forward to keeping that momentum going into 2013.
We have an exciting new partnership with NASCAR through our Super Weekend, the Kroger Super Weekend, and added racing events and content for our fans that was very well received.
The IndyCar Series also is filled with excitement and opportunity. 2012 was a great season on the track with the new equipment, the new car, the new chassis produced great racing, and I mentioned the Indianapolis 500 and the number of lead changes, but we also, our series championship went down to the final race in California at Fontana. It was exciting to see, crowned a new champion, an American, Ryan Hunter-Reay. Saw some fresh faces in victory circle with Ed Carpenter and Justin Wilson claiming victories during 2012.
I spent a lot of time in the last three weeks engaging and working with team owners, promoters, sponsors, engaging fans and understanding what opportunities we have, what the barriers are to those opportunities, how do we capture them. We've got a lot of good things ahead of us, again, a lot of great opportunity. The plan for 2013, a lot of it has been launched already with our schedule, and many things are underway. But we have other issues and other things that we need to deal with that in the weeks to come. Early in 2013 we're going to be providing clarity on things like Lotus and engine supply and tire supply long-term and where that's going, and the feeder system, the ladder system and Indy Lights and the car and chassis options there, aero kits implementation. So we're going to work hard at bringing clarity to these issues and working the process to bring them to a resolution.
Turn the page for questions from the media.