POSTED: March 5th 2009

Scherr in shock USOC exit

Jim Scherr: leaving after six years / Image: USOC
Jim Scherr: leaving after six years / Image: USOC

LAURA WALDEN & KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: Jim Scherr’s sudden departure as chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee could hardly come at a more awkward time.

The USOC faces financial challenges on two fronts – from both the recession and the controversy over its Olympic revenues – while Chicago is approaching the climactic stage of its bid to host the 2016 Games.

Scherr's decision comes at just a month before the critical IOC Evaluation Commission visit to Chicago April 4 to 7 to inspect the bid for their official report.

He will wrap up his duties on March 31 and be succeeded, on an interim basis, by Stephanie Street (below) who is member of the USOC board of directors. Streeter is a former chairman, president and ceo of Banta Corporation.

Scherr joined the USOC in November 2000 as senior managing director for sport resources after having been executive director of USA Wrestling from 1990-2000. In March 2003, he stepped up as interim ceo and was confirmed in the role in April 2005.

No hint of an exit was apparent when Scherr, on Tuesday, announced that the USOC would reduce staffing by up to 15 per cent in an attempt to save a further $7.1m from the 2009 budget. This was the second set of measures Scherr and USOC had put in place to try to stave off the worst effects of the financial crisis.

Conference call update

Post the announcement the USOC called a conference call and board chairman Larry Probst explained that the board and Scherr came to the “mutual” conclusion on Tuesday in Washington that it was time for him to step aside. The reasoning he cited that the current situation was facing a “new set of opportunities” calling for a “new set of skills”. 

Probst insisted that the decision on the resignation was taken consensually by both sides.

USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel further explained that it was extremely important that Probst and Streeter met and informed USOC staff in Colorado Springs then proceeded with a press announcement.

Scherr's contribution

Paying generous tribute to Scherr in a manner which will only increase speculation, USOC chairman Larry Probst said: “The US Olympic Committee is a decidedly stronger and more effective organization today than it was six years ago and that is due in large part to the leadership Jim Scherr has provided.

“He guided our organization through a period of unprecedented challenge and change and did so with an unwavering commitment to enabling America’s athletes to succeed on the field of play. We are indebted to Jim for his outstanding service to the USOC and wish him the very best for continued success.

Imminent challenges

“As we prepare now to meet a very different series of challenges and opportunities, we are extremely fortunate to draw upon the expertise and talent that Stephanie Streeter brings.

“Working from the strong foundation Jim has built, and with the dedicated staff at the USOC, Stephanie will make certain the organization is well-positioned to respond to the challenges that are immediately before us and enjoy continued success as we begin a new quadrennium.”

Streeter, 51, joined the USOC board in May 2004. She is also a member of the board of Chicago 2016, the Green Bay Packers, Goodyear, Kohl’s Corporation and Catalyst, the leading professional women’s research and advisory organization.

Scherr’s term of office saw the US Olympic team win 110 medals and lead the overall medal count for the fourth consecutive time at the 2008 Games in Beijing and Team USA collect a record 25 medals at the 2006 Winter Games.

He said: “It has been an honor to serve the USOC. We have accomplished things that may have seemed impossible six years ago. In so doing, we have ensured that the future remains equally bright for the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, as well as young people whose lives will be bettered by the opportunity to participate in sport.

"I remain committed to doing all I can in support of America’s athletes, the national governing bodies and the USOC.”

Keywords · USOC · Chicago · 2016 Olympic Games · Scherr

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.