Marketing exec turns down organization’s CEO position
BY JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Zak Brown has turned down an offer to join the IndyCar Series, choosing instead to remain with the motorsports marketing company he founded.
Brown told The Associated Press on Tuesday he informed Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles of his decision not to take a job with IndyCar.
He’ll instead relocate in July to England to continue the growth of his Zionsville, Ind.-based agency, Just Marketing International.
“I’m a huge fan of IndyCar; it’s a great product, and it certainly would have been a great opportunity and challenge,” Brown said.
“I have no doubt Mark Miles and the team he forms will lead the series down a path of success – and we at JMI will continue to do our part to support IndyCar.”
Brown had been contemplating leaving Indiana for London since discussions began earlier this year with Miles about a potential role for Brown in IndyCar.
Miles, hired late last year as head of IndyCar’s parent company, said Brown had made it clear “his only interest would be if we put the pieces together and he was the head of racing.”
The courtship dragged on for months, and on Monday the series announced longtime motorsports veteran Derrick Walker had been hired as head of competition reporting directly to Miles.
Miles said he’s moving forward with a plan to restructure the management flow of both IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and has chosen a model where Walker and a president of IndyCar and IMS commercial operations report directly to Miles.
That model makes Miles the de facto CEO of IndyCar.
“Obviously if those two heads are reporting to me, I expect to be hands on, focused on this and responsible for our racing,” Miles said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
“I don’t expect to take the title of CEO of IndyCar. But if you ask who is responsible for IndyCar and IMS, the answer is me.”
Brown said Walker’s hiring had nothing to do with his decision, nor did the way Miles has decided to structure the organization.
“I think Mark’s first task at hand is getting the organizational structure correct and the right people in the right roles, and I think he’s well on his way with getting good people in place,” Brown said.
“Certainly Derrick Walker is a highly experienced individual that can contribute to IndyCar’s growth.”
Miles said he’s got at least three candidates he’s had “some level of discussion with” for his head of the commercial division, and will continue looking for potential hires.
“This isn’t starting over. We’ve always been working on a track where Zak was a leading contender but not the only candidate,” Miles said.