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Ilitch Holdings, Inc. | SVP, Marketing | Detroit, MI


Ilitch Holdings, Inc. (IHI) provides professional services to the companies founded by Mike & Marian Ilitch (Ilitch companies). We are a family-owned company and the umbrella holding company of the Ilitch family of companies.  Headquartered in Detroit Michigan, IHI encompasses leading brands in the food, sports and entertainment industries, including:

Sports & Entertainment Group

  • Detroit Tigers

  • Detroit Red Wings

  • Olympia Entertainment

  • Olympia Development/Parking

  • 313 Presents (Entertainment Joint Venture w/Detroit Pistons)

  • Venue operations include:Comerica Park, Little Caesars Arena, Fox Theatre, DTE Energy Music Theatre, Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, Meadow Brook Amphitheatre

Other Ilitch companies

  • Little Caesars Pizza

  • Blue Line Foodservice Distribution

  • Champion Foods

  • Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program

  • Olympia Development (The District Detroit)

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 Chris Granger, Group President, Sports & Entertainment and will work closely and collaboratively with senior executive leaders to oversee the marketing operations of the sports and entertainment group.  Each of the individual sports and entertainment operating companies’ marketing teams will report to this position.  This position will carry P&L responsibility for the marketing-related financial performance of (a) each operating company, as well as (b) the consolidated overall sports and entertainment group.   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, this position will work with executives of the operating companies and IHI to strategically develop, plan and then ultimately implement the optimum organizational structure for the sports & entertainment 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.

Job Summary

Vision.  The SVP, Marketing oversees all aspects of the sports and entertainment group’s (i) marketing; (ii) communications; (iii) game/event presentation including the totality of the at-event “experience;” (iv) creative services/creative content creation; (v) media and new media including broadcasting, digital and social media platforms; and (vi) community programs and impact; (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Marketing Services”).  Currently, many of these Marketing Services tend to be decentralized throughout the sports and entertainment group, meaning that each property (e.g., the Detroit Tigers or the Detroit Red Wings, etc.) handles its own Marketing.  Going forward, the sports and entertainment group intends to explore the creation of a new, centralized in-house agency/group to develop and implement an integrated, cohesive approach to marketing not only for the individual properties, but also potentially for a sports and entertainment brand at the corporate level. This role will be retail-marketing focused, responsible for driving consumer revenue. This person will have an analytical mindset and a goal towards creating a robust consumer data environment. The sports and entertainment group desires to become the premier sales and marketing organization in the industry, and this role is critically important towards realizing that goal.

Mission.  This position is responsible for leading all integrated marketing and communication functions including brand development, marketing and communications planning, media relations together with digital and social media to achieve the sports and entertainment group’s objectives of revenue growth and the enhancement of the brand reputation to ensure positioning consistent with the strategic direction.  In working across many different departments, this position requires an innate creativity and intellectually curious mindset that drives cross-departmental interaction. This position will execute “retail” (i.e., sales-focused) marketing strategies that work directly towards achieving revenue, attendance and audience targets and maximizing profit margins at the property-level while building collaborative, integrated consumer and brand marketing standards aimed at leveraging the power of the collective properties to co-promote across the entirety of the sports and entertainment group.  The position will create and deliver an overall vision for the structure of the group, including the further development of corporate-level shared services to efficiently streamline the delivery of innovative, data-driven creative in conjunction with each of the individual properties.

Approach.  The position will assess the current organizational structure and staff, together with vendor deals, policies and procedures and work closely with the Group President to recommend (and ultimately implement & manage) the optimal structure, staffing and strategies for all Marketing Services at the corporate level and the property level.  This position holds P&L budget responsibility with core areas of responsibility including:  strategies and systems; account service, colleague assessment; talent/staffing recruitment, acquisition, on-boarding, training, mentoring, development, review, retention and management of this new, centralized group.  With the recent industry trends leaning more and more towards the importance of digital, this position will be forward-focused and play a large role in leading the sports and entertainment group to becoming a new media powerhouse. This position and the Marketing Services department will collaborate with many sports and entertainment stakeholders, including sponsorships, ticket sales, operations, finance and other core shared services. With an eye towards sales promotions and marketing designed to drive revenue, this position will take a sales-centric approach. Through the utilization and implementation of industry-leading data collection and reporting practices, this position will make critical decisions behind the power of analytic insights.

Key Responsibilities

  • Collaborate closely with and leverage the business intelligence team to ensure that all Marketing Services are appropriately (and efficiently) strategized and targeted to optimize sales impact. Work to drive the data collection and implementation of data-driven decision-making.

  • Collaborate closely with and leverage the finance team to develop budgets, reporting and forecasting projections with consistent, accurate and relevant business metrics. Work closely with finance to ensure highly accurate and reliable monthly and annual reporting.

  • Collaborate closely with and leverage the sponsorship team to leverage marketing programs being implemented by sponsorship partners.

  • Partner with numerous other departments within the overall sports and entertainment structure including ticket sales, parking, game presentation, event activation, hotels, restaurants, retail stores, live music, and more. Ensure the marketing initiatives are consistently implemented and activated.

  • As a key team member of the senior executive leadership team, identify challenges/emerging issues faced by the organization and help develop strategic solutions for corrective action and/or resolution.

  • Develop, implement and lead multi-faceted marketing strategic plans for achieving annual and long-term revenue and profitability growth targets; maintain focus on maximizing profitability, creating new revenue streams, reducing operating expenses, identifying efficiencies, synergies and economies of scale that lead to tangible economic value creation.

  • Assess the existing marketing approach, ensuring standards, processes and internal resources are in place to serve existing and new potential customers most effectively; develop and institute the strategy for how to best leverage the strengths of the individual properties to create a fully-integrated and efficient marketing department fully dedicated to the promotion of the sports and entertainment group’s programming, companies, teams and brands.

  • Develop and protect the sports and entertainment group’s brand standards and its properties and teams, ensuring the brands are used consistently and stay respectfully within established guidelines across all content, advertising, corporate partner programming and usage, and consumer-facing experiences and communications.

  • Ensure the sports and entertainment group is a progressive leader in digital and social media, through progressive integrated marketing efforts and mediums.

  • Prioritize the investigation and implementation of forward-thinking, industry-leading utilization of the digital landscape.  Consistently create and incorporate innovative and creative content, specifically content that drives consumers to act. Investigate and ideate new opportunities to effectively engage with fans, including the furthering of internal capabilities for driving digital sales transaction and data-gathering.

  • Manage agency relationships and oversee advertising planning, placement, and evaluation; ensure relationships with all strategic partners are effectively built and maintained.

  • Serve as a key company spokesperson on various Marketing Services matters, communicating regularly and effectively with all relevant stakeholders; provide strategic support to Group President and other key executives by providing talking points and coaching on delivery of key messages; manage crisis communications on behalf of the organization; ensure all key stakeholders are proactively informed and engaged; prepare responses and/or position statements for various public audiences and ensure media opportunities are managed.

  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality, openness, diversity and a consistently safe work environment.

  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach on a consistent basis.  Demonstrate a leadership approach/style that promotes the values of the organization; provide effective leadership and management oversight to all marketing leaders and their teams; take active role to ensure leadership development and succession planning goals and objectives are achieved. 

  • Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance appraisals; hire, develop, evaluate, mentor and manage team; ensure appropriate organization structure(s), level of staffing and build sufficient bench strength.


  • Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on marketing, communications, public relations or related field.

  • 15+ years of progressive experience and oversight in marketing.

  • Proven marketing leader with a demonstrated track record of performance and business achievements.

  • Exceptional track record of developing and implementing marketing strategies that have consistently met or exceeded planned revenue and strategic objectives.

  • Experience using marketing as a tool for driving revenue by motivating consumers to act.

  • Evidence of being a strategic thinker with the ability to develop and implement processes and plans.

  • Evidence of planning acumen, analytical expertise and long-term strategic outlook with proven results.

  • Evidence of a successful leadership track record with high ethical standards.

  • Evidence of highly developed collaboration, persuasion, relationship building and interpersonal skills that results in the trust from peers, public and private stakeholders and company ownership/leadership. 

  • Established success with digital media including social media, streaming, apps, and other progressive forms of fan interaction.

  • Strong leadership, planning, management and organizational experience, directing the outcome of multiple, complex projects.

  • Demonstrated communication effectiveness in all forms and the ability to educate and inform broad audiences with evidence of well-developed influencing, persuasion and negotiation skills.

  • Proficient at Microsoft applications. Internet, professional databases.  Evidence of knowledge of current technologies and remain up to date with processes and best practices emerging in the industry.

  • No employment or contractual restrictions due to existing confidentiality and/or non-competition agreement and ability and willingness to sign a confidentiality and non-competition agreement with an Ilitch company.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in marketing, sports, business management, communications, public relations or related field.

  • Knowledge of the Detroit market, including key media contacts and an understanding of city and state government.

  • Experience working in the sports and entertainment industry.

Characteristic Qualifications

Leadership, Work Ethic, and Culture

  • Exceptionally strong leadership skills and business acumen.

  • Hard charging, high energy leader with a strong work ethic and a desire to enhance the culture of the organization

  • Demonstrates commitment to the Company’s core values.

  • Projects a positive image as well as inspiring trust and credibility with stakeholders.

  • Aligns words with actions; follows through on commitments; takes ownership, responsibility and accountability for actions and behavior.

  • Mature, hands-on executive with “roll-up your sleeves” mentality; not afraid to dig into details as necessary to accomplish objectives.

  • Low ego; approachable; adheres to processes but is non-political and non-bureaucratic.

    Judgment, Decision-Making and Sense of Urgency

  • Demonstrates exceptional judgment in carrying out duties.

  • Able to clearly define complex issues; identifies and discusses potential solutions with key stakeholders; shapes opinions and works to build consensus as appropriate; uses broad knowledge and common sense throughout process.

  • Acts with purpose and urgency in making timely recommendations and decisions.


  • Communicates clearly and effectively; possesses excellent interpersonal skills.

  • Keeps Group President fully and completely informed of important issues/aspects of the marketing performance.

  • Over-communicates key messages as appropriate to internal stakeholders.

  • Uses right communication tone, manner and channel in all circumstances.

  • Actively listens and acknowledges conflicting points of view; treats all points of view with respect, even if he/she disagrees. 

    Executive Presence

  • Able to achieve immediate credibility with stakeholders by possessing appropriate composure, confidence, knowledge, clarity, and professionalism.

  • Exhibits a team-oriented approach.