Originally created 08/31/99

USOC's Schultz to step down



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Dick Schultz, executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee since 1995, will step down next year as part of a sweeping reorganization of the USOC's hierarchy.

Last weekend, the USOC's executive committee adopted a preliminary report from a public-sector task force and from an independent consulting firm that is intended to put it more in line with how major corporations function as it heads into the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

A principal recommendation of the report, announced Monday, calls for creation of a professional staff position of president and chief executive officer to lead the USOC, a job that would replace the current executive director. The report also would change the role and definition of the USOC's volunteer president, making it a new position of chairman of the board.

Schultz lauded the recommendations but said at a news conference that he would not seek the new position of presidentCEO. He said it would require a longer commitment than he is prepared to make.

Asked if he was invited to apply for the new position, Schultz said, "I certainly had the option of applying. But as it was laid out by McKinsey & Co. and the public-sector group, this is going to be a three- to five-year commitment. I'm not ready to commit that kind of time.

"I'm going to be 70 years old here in another week. I've been in this business 49 years. I've hardly had any weekends off. I have grandchildren I haven't seen. For me to think about going another three to five years after Sydney is just not appealing to me at all."

Schultz ran into trouble shortly after Bill Hybl became USOC president in 1996, with growing concerns that his low-key style was resulting in a lack of leadership. Those troubles escalated this spring, when Hybl and other members of a volunteer board of directors were caught flat-footed when John Krimsky resigned as deputy executive director and marketing chief.

Hybl will assume the job of chairman. His current job is limited to one four-year term expiring at the end of 2000, but there apparently would be no limit on his tenure as chairman.

While a search begins for a new president-CEO, Schultz will devote more time to fund-raising, particularly for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Schultz, formerly executive director of the NCAA, said fund-raising efforts are improving after being disrupted by the Olympic bribery scandal.

"I'm going to be spending a lot of my time doing that in the next 12 to 14 months," he said. "I will stay on until the job is finished, through 2000. If we have a shortfall or something and it's important for me to continue to be involved after that, I'll be willing to do that."

Asked how long he will continue as executive director, Schultz said, "I can't answer that. We're going to make sure it's a smooth transition. It depends on how fast the search committee can do its work and how quickly the board of directors will approve the constitution and bylaws changes.

"We're probably looking at five to six months minimum, but hopefully it will be quicker than that.

"While I do have a contract through 2002, my commitment to the USOC was to go to 2000 and then I would make a decision. If I'm happy and healthy, I'll go on through Salt Lake and that's the end. The way I feel right now, at the end of the Sydney Games in 2000, that's enough."

He said he will receive no severance package. "I'm just going to serve out my term," he said.

Hybl insisted that the executive committee has been "very pleased with many of the things that have gone on" under Schultz's tenure.

"The decision was Dick's," Hybl said. "Even after there is a new president and CEO, Dick will be involved with fund-raising in the most significant way. The executive committee has confidence in Dick, and we've asked him to be part of the search process."

The completed report of the recommended restructuring will be presented to the USOC board of directors, which meets Oct. 23-24. Formal approval will be sought at a subsequent special meeting.

"The earliest it could be done is probably late January," Hybl said. "We will announce within a week or so the search committee. It is our intention to expedite this process so the president and CEO will have some time with Dick and also more time before the Sydney Games."

Michael McManus Jr., chairman of the USOC Public Sector task force, said his report "was not about people and was never intended to be about people. Unfortunately, that was written (in the media). That's not what we were trying to do.

"Our conclusion and the McKinsey conclusion is that the USOC, which has gotten so big, needs to be run like a corporation, so you have a chairman who has a vision and a president-CEO who will carry out those policies on a day-to-day basis."