Ilitch Holdings, Inc. | Group President, Sports & Entertainment; Detroit, MI

IHI has retained Turnkey Search to conduct a nationwide executive search to identify interested candidates who meet the expressed preferences and minimum requirements contained in this Position Description.  This newly created position will report to IHI’s President & CEO, Christopher Ilitch, and work closely and collaboratively with senior executive leaders of the business groups as well as IHI to operate the business operations of the Group.  (The Detroit Tigers’ baseball operations and Detroit Red Wings’ hockey operations are NOT included in the scope of the position.)  Each of the individual operating companies within the Group will report to this President position.  This position will carry P&L responsibility for the financial performance of (a) each Operating Company within the Group, as well as (b) the consolidated financial performance of the overall Group.  The Group President may attend MLB & NHL Board meetings and serve as one of the representatives of ownership.

The successful executive will be a hands-on leader who is an experienced, transformational bottom-line leader/manager.  This senior executive will also be highly adept operating at the strategic level, helping set the future agenda for the Group.  At the outset, the President will work with executives of the business groups and IHI to strategically develop, plan and then ultimately implement the optimum organizational structure for the Group; while delivering (i) best-in-class customer service, (ii) industry leading business, venue and event operations, and (iii) optimal P&L financial performance.  This individual will be an experienced sports & entertainment industry executive with strong top-line and bottom-line operating/management competencies.

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BACKGROUND

Ilitch Holdings, Inc. (IHI) provides professional services to the companies founded by Mike and/or Marian Ilitch (Ilitch companies). IHI is a family-owned company and the umbrella holding company of the Ilitch family of companies.  Headquartered in Detroit Michigan, the Ilitch companies represent leading brands in the food, sports and entertainment industries. They include:

Sports & Entertainment Group (the “Group”)

Detroit Tigers & Comerica Park
Detroit Red Wings & Little Caesars Arena
Olympia Entertainment, including Detroit’s Fox Theatre
Entertainment Joint Venture w/Detroit Pistons
Other Civic, Charitable & Business Initiatives

Other Interests

Little Caesars Pizza
Blue Line Foodservice Distribution
Champion Foods
Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program
Olympia Development/The District Detroit
The MotorCity Casino & Hotel
Other Civic, Charitable & Business Initiatives

IHI has retained Turnkey Search to conduct a nationwide executive search to identify interested candidates who meet the expressed preferences and minimum requirements contained in this Position Description.  This newly created position will report to IHI’s President & CEO, Christopher Ilitch, and work closely and collaboratively with senior executive leaders of the business groups as well as IHI to operate the business operations of the Group.  (The Detroit Tigers’ baseball operations and Detroit Red Wings’ hockey operations are NOT included in the scope of the position.)  Each of the individual operating companies within the Group will report to this President position.  This position will carry P&L responsibility for the financial performance of (a) each Operating Company within the Group, as well as (b) the consolidated financial performance of the overall Group.  The Group President may attend MLB & NHL Board meetings and serve as one of the representatives of ownership.

The successful executive will be a hands-on leader who is an experienced, transformational bottom-line leader/manager.  This senior executive will also be highly adept operating at the strategic level, helping set the future agenda for the Group.  At the outset, the President will work with executives of the business groups and IHI to strategically develop, plan and then ultimately implement the optimum organizational structure for the Group; while delivering (i) best-in-class customer service, (ii) industry leading business, venue and event operations, and (iii) optimal P&L financial performance.  This individual will be an experienced sports & entertainment industry executive with strong top-line and bottom-line operating/management competencies.

Sports & Entertainment Group

MLB’s Detroit Tigers, founded in 1901, are the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in the American League. The Tigers have won 4 World Series championships (1935, 1945, 1968, & 1984), 11 AL pennants (1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968, 1984, 2006 & 2012), and seven division titles.  They have played in only three home venues, moving into downtown Comerica Park in 2000.

The Detroit Red Wings, founded in 1926, are one of the “Original Six” NHL teams.  One of the most popular franchises in the NHL, the Red Wings have won the most Stanley Cup championships (11) of any NHL franchise based in the United States.  This fall, the Wings will move into a brand new downtown “deconstructed” arena called Little Caesars Arena, one of the centerpieces of a new, 50-block re-birth of the city called “The District Detroit.”

Olympia Entertainment, Inc. (“Olympia Entertainment”) is one of the country’s most diverse sports and entertainment companies and the largest organization of its kind in the Midwest. Olympia owns and operates Detroit’s Fox Theatre and the intimate City Theatre.  Olympia books, manages and operates Joe Louis Arena, and books Comerica Park.  Olympia will book, manage and operate the new Little Caesars Arena as well as all of the event spaces in District Detroit.   Olympia also handles the business operations for the Detroit Red Wings and currently collaborates with the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise and other IHI companies.  Olympia Entertainment’s new, modern offices, also currently under construction, will be in the heart of the action as part of the Little Caesars Arena complex. Featuring three stories of modern office space above dynamic first-floor retail, the new home for Olympia Entertainment and The Detroit Red Wings business operations will open in fall of 2017.

Olympia Entertainment and its sister company, Olympia Development of Michigan, are also playing a key role in The District Detroit, one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites six world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and four professional sports venues in one vibrant, walkable destination for people who want to live, work and play in an exciting urban environment.  One of those sports venues will be the new Little Caesars Arena.  Scheduled to open in September 2017, Little Caesars Arena will serve as the new home of the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Pistons, and countless other sports, entertainment and community events.  IHI’s Olympia Development is the lead developer of District Detroit.

Little Caesars Arena, scheduled to open in the Fall of 2017, is one of the most innovative and captivating sports venue ever conceived.  The arena itself is “de-constructed”, meaning that the concourses have been pulled away from the dramatic seating bowl, a bowl which will have proximity to the action and great sight lines for fans.  The arena will also feature state-of-the-art technology and fan amenities geared toward creating memorable experiences.  There will also be community spaces like a streetscape-inspired concourse, a Red Wings practice rink jointly used for youth hockey, including Little Caesars storied youth hockey program, and an outdoor plaza with a massive video wall.  All founding sponsorships and almost all of the premium seating have been sold out on long-term, multiyear contracts, giving the project a tremendous liftoff.

Venture With The Detroit Pistons/Palace Sports & Entertainment

In November 2016, the Detroit Pistons and Olympia announced agreements under which the Pistons would move to downtown Detroit and begin playing at the new Little Caesars arena starting in fall of 2017.  The parties’ sports franchises will remain separate and each will continue managing its own business operations.  With respect to entertainment, it was also announced that the parties agreed to establish a joint venture (JV) in connection with the booking and programming of music and live entertainment at their entertainment venues: Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park, Fox Theatre, City Theatre, The Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre, Meadow Brook Amphitheatre and Freedom Hill Amphitheatre. The planned joint venture will help ensure that Southeastern Michigan continues to attract the most exciting acts in the world while simultaneously supporting local and emerging artists.

Partnership With Cordish

While still confidential, IHI is also planning to announce another new partnership with the Cordish Companies that will further energize and differentiate The District Detroit.  Cordish is one of the leading developers and programmers of vibrant, urban mixed-use “Entertainment Districts.”  Cordish has developed thrilling urban entertainment districts in Atlanta, Baltimore, Kansas City, Madrid, Norfolk, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Louisville, and is now working in partnership with IHI and Olympia Development. Cordish will help ensure that The District Detroit is a unique Entertainment District that captures Detroit’s energy, excitement, flare and culture.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS

Strategy, Vision & Strategic Development: Evaluate Group Operating Companies individually and collectively, reviewing all financial, operating & strategic aspects, and then formulate a near-term and long-term vision for the Sports & Entertainment Group.

  • Understand and anticipate market trends to set an aggressive and realistic 3-5 year vision.
  • Build accompanying business plans (short & long term) to achieve existing and future vision.
  • Ensure that everyone understands how their individual roles play into the larger purpose and long-term vision.
  • Represent and lead IHI within the new JV with PSE and work closely and collaboratively with PSE to (a) structure, staff & lead the new JV; and (b) help the JV maximize music and live entertainment booking opportunities.
  • Participate as a key member of the working team that is collaborating with Cordish in the creation, programming and management of a new entertainment district within the overall District Detroit plan.
  • Assess new business development opportunities presented and evaluate which ones best meet the short-term and longer-term objectives of the Group; pursue acquisition and implementation of those deemed to be the best fit.
  • Find and/or create potential new business development opportunities that could continue to build the Group; aggressively pursue acquisition and implementation of those deemed to be the best fit.

Sustainable Growth: Working with Group Operating Companies, plan and drive growth-related activities in all customer segments to ensure short-term and long-term revenue and EBITDA growth targets are achieved.

  • Ensure a world-class sales, marketing & service organization to deliver the highest level of performance and customer service to fans, customers, marketing partners and all constituencies. This position oversees, manages and participates in our existing hands-on revenue generation departments, with a rigorous daily emphasis on top-line revenue growth and bottom-line financial performance.
  • Evaluate existing competencies using key organizational performance measurements and identify and develop the capabilities required to become a leader in the marketplace.
  • Drive a cohesive and effective sales and sponsorship strategy geared for the marketplace, ensuring sales and marketing plans are aligned with the long-term strategy and bottom-line financial performance.
  • Introduce cutting-edge data analytics and market segmentation to infuse a more efficient target marketing/direct marketing and modeling approach, including new methodologies and technologies.
  • Review, evaluate and potentially re-align, the inter-relationships between and among the Group Operating Companies with a view toward building operating efficiencies and long-term profitability and enterprise value.

Operations: Instill a disciplined operations culture built on three fundamental characteristics: (i) world-class front of house hospitality/customer service; (ii) disciplined back of house asset management; and (iii) bottom-line profit and loss orientation that consistently meets and exceeds annual budget objectives.

  • Review all contracts, vendors and organizational policies/procedures in order to attain the highest possible customer service and hospitality platforms across all business lines.
  • Measure customer service on an ongoing basis using quantifiable standards and metrics.
  • Review all contracts, vendors and organizational policies/procedures in order to attain the most disciplined asset management and maintenance programs in the industry.
  • Develop and implement operational, labor and workforce plans to achieve budget objectives.
  • Constantly review operating results of the organization; compare results to established objectives and take steps to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to deliver a world class customer service experience.
  • Working closely with the IHI executive leadership team, financial partners, and also with Group Operating Companies, take the lead on assessing and determining the proper re-investment rate for capital improvements so as to ensure that (a) all facilities remain innovative and cutting -edge; and (b) all customers continue to enjoy world-class experiences.

Talent Management: Working with Group Operating Companies, recruit, develop, lead and retain a highly engaged workforce, with a special focus on developing “bench strength” and succession planning across the companies.

  • Manage, motivate and lead a world-class management team and instill a sense of pride, passion, dedication, loyalty and cohesiveness within team members ensuring an intensive, close, collegial and gratifying working environment.
  • Lead and model a working environment where productivity can be sustained and where innovation and personal growth is encouraged and realized.
  • Ensure that all the Group Operating Companies have clear, formal & reliable programs in place for succession planning, mentorship, executive coaching and development of talent. Retaining and developing executive talent across all companies is a top priority for the position.
  • Promote a diverse and highly inclusive work place for management staff, event staff and also for partners, vendors and customers.

Content/Programming: Collaborate with current and future content/programming partners to ensure that all JV venues continue to be among the busiest, top-grossing (and netting) venues in North America.

  • Nurture and build personal relationships throughout the music/concert and touring industry to maximize the booking of live sports and entertainment across all venues.
  • Collaborate with the management team to develop and implement creative, innovative, aggressive new ideas for the creation of additional content and programming for all venues.
  • Balance the risk/return ratio of third party events businesses to ensure that Olympia and affiliated entities are constantly receiving a proper and attractive return on invested capital.

Communications, Marketing & Sales: Lead an organization built for the Michigan marketplace of today and tomorrow; meeting the needs of fans and future fans in ways tailored to their preferences.   Make the experience of following and interacting with the Red Wings, Tigers, The District Detroit, Little Caesars Arena and other Olympia properties unrivaled in the market and in professional sports.

  • Instill a target marketing core competence using leading edge talent, technology and analytical methods.
  • Drive sales of tickets and hospitality using industry leading direct marketing methods that leverage best practices from inside and outside the sports and entertainment industry.
  • Lead a companywide initiative to better leverage social media and cutting edge technologies to touch and convert new fans and customers.
  • Drive marketing partnerships forward not only from a new business perspective, but also from a retention/growth approach, by delivering the best activation programs in the market and in the industry.
  • Keep a watchful eye, constantly monitoring all of our brands (e.g., Tigers, Red Wings, Fox, Olympia, etc.) to ensure that the brand promise and implementation remains current, relevant and vital to the Michigan community.

Culture: Lead by example and serve as the torchbearer for our culture.

  • Reinforce and teach the rest of the organization what the “rules of the game” are within the organization by how you act, how you lead, and how you show up every day
  • Create a place where the best and brightest want to come and stay.
  • Become immersed in the history of these magnificent enterprises and also come to know and feel the spirit, the energy and the culture of our founders, Michael and Marian Ilitch. We are a family-run company now in our second generation.  It is absolutely critical to us that we not forget how we got here.  It is of paramount importance that we deliver great experiences for not only our customers, but also for all of our full-time, part-time and event team members.  This position will play a pivotal role in helping perpetuate and improve upon the key ingredients of that culture.

CORE COMPETENCIES

  • Operating Skills: Proficiency in facility operations including capital programs and projects; labor relations; safety and security; risk management; concessions; catering; premium hospitality; premium services; merchandising; broadcast operations; box office operations; information technologies; technical services; engineering; maintenance; groundskeeping; housekeeping; event services; etc.
  • Analytical: Ability to synthesize very complex and/or diverse information sets; anticipate potential problems or issues and take corrective measures before problems arise; sharp and quick on feet in reaction to quickly developing situations; able to read, write, negotiate and close complex agreements; etc.
  • Business Acumen: Strong business intuition; understands financial, legal and customer implications of all decisions; intently focused on profitability; strong knowledge of marketplace and competition; spots opportunities; exploits opportunities; constantly looks for ways to grow and improve business; open-minded toward new business opportunities; etc.
  • Customer and Sponsor Orientation: Constantly sets expectations and tone to anticipate the wishes and requirements of all customer segments; knowledge of CRM systems and usages; etc.
  • Communication and Presentation Skills: Wonderfully charismatic and articulate; speaks clearly and persuasively; responds well to questions; has strong group presentation skills; writes clearly and informatively; presents numerical data effectively; able to read, interpret and critically analyze written and quantitative information; able to write and deliver speeches using original and innovative techniques; etc.

UNIQUE ABILITIES

  • Financially-oriented DNA, constantly managing operations within context of financial parameters.
  • Extraordinary energy level, intensity, drive, commitment to excellence.
  • Thrives on working extremely long hours, nights and weekends at venues and/or events.
  • Track record of anticipating and then consistently exceeding very high-end customer service requirements.
  • Consistently anticipates and then consistently exceeds the needs of corporate marketing partners.

EDUCATION

Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent degree in a field of general business or other applicable field of study and 20 years of related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.  A Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.)  or other applicable advanced degree is a plus.

2017-06-20T23:16:33+00:00

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