POSTED: May 23rd 2013

Richard Carrion brings a wealth of business experience to his Olympic campaign

Carrion was involved with the sale of TV rights bringing in over $8 billion as well as the negotiations with the USOC revenue sharing deal  / IOC
Carrion was involved with the sale of TV rights bringing in over $8 billion as well as the negotiations with the USOC revenue sharing deal / IOC

(L to R) USOC leaders Scott Blackmun, Larry Probst, IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and Richard Carrion sign the new financial agreement / IOC
(L to R) USOC leaders Scott Blackmun, Larry Probst, IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and Richard Carrion sign the new financial agreement / IOC

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Puerto Rican banker and businessman Richard Carrion has announced his candidacy to run the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and he highlights his strong business acumen and view of the future as his best credentials for the top job in Olympic sports.

Speaking from New York, had an exclusive interview with Carrion right after his announcement went public and he explained a few of his aspirations for the future of the Olympic Movement.

He joins two IOC vice-presidents, Thomas Bach (GER) and Ser Miang Ng (SIN) and executive board member, Ching-Kuo Wu (TPE) who has just announced. Then possibly Denis Oswald (SUI), head of the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and IOC executive board member Sergey Bubka (UKR) may follow.

With more than twenty years of active involvement with the IOC on a number of commissions and more than thirty years in the business and management side of running a leading financial institution, Carrion says he is motivated by passion, but gets straight down to business.

As CEO of Popular, Inc. a US financial institution with over US$37 billion in assets, board member of Verizon telecom, as well as Board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, just to name a few affiliattions, his is a man who has money making in his DNA.

Carrion is in charge of the IOC Finance Commission and has headed negotiations of Olympic TV broadcast rights for the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia that accumulate more than $8 billion in funding revenues for the Olympic Movement.

“Chairing the Finance Commission has been a privilege that has provided me a broad view of the Movement for more than a decade,” he noted, “as well as a narrow focus on its essential needs to ensure its independence,”

“We have a lot at stake in this election. Our place in the world is not guaranteed. We must have a leader that knows how not just to manage the coming change, but also make it work for the IOC and the Movement. We must embrace this ever changing reality and keep innovating and evolving, or risk becoming less relevant to this and future generations.”

Leveraging for Universality

At the heart of his vision for leading the Olympic Movement he is thinking about expanding the universality with a focus on the grassroots of sport by utilizing the UN observer status connections.

“I am talking about leveraging our resources,” he explained. “With what is going on in the world right now I think it is more and more important to leverage resources with governments and NGOs to try to accomplish our mission.

“You have seen what we did in Zambia, we are trying to do something similar in Haiti. We do have the observer status in the UN and we have an enormous treasure trove of talent among our membership.

“We know of projects that are going on so I am saying lets partner with areas that are doing good things relating to sport.”

Games Assistance

Another key factor Carrion mentioned was bringing in house some of the functions of the Olympic Games.

“We have a history of that, originally the marketing function was outsourced with Meridian Management and a little over ten years ago we brought it in house. What is today OBS was outsourced until we had developed a very good cadre of people at the time under the leadership of Manolo Romero and then we brought that in house and I think that was a very successful venture.

“I think there are areas in the managing of the Olympic Games we probably would want to develop the people to be onsite at the organizing cities to full time year round. I am not talking about huge numbers of people, but serving as a guide for the organizing committee. I just think there are many, many times when we have the experience, we have done this many times before, we can save a lot of effort and a lot of resources just by doing that in house.

Television and Media rights and online evolution

Carrion remarked on the direction for the future of television and media rights.

“Clearly OBS will continue evolving as the media world evolves and we need to reflect how people are consuming media these days. We tried some things during London 2012 that have been very successful but we are just getting started. But we have to keep evolving.

“The way people are consuming media and as wireless networks continue to deploy much faster wireless networks mobility will become a very big thing. The data feeds that need to accompany the video feeds are going to become a big thing and we need to stay ahead of the curve.”

Move to Lausanne

On another note, Carrion said that should he win the top post, he would resign as CEO and President of the Popular Bank but stay on as non-executive chairman and he feels that it is critical to be located in Lausanne at the headquarters.

“My day to day duties in other places I would have to relinquish,” he confirmed.

Paycheck an option

And finally in line with being a “hands on” President, Carrion thoughtfully said that he was fine with the idea that the next President could get a paycheck.

“From a personal point of view I am indifferent to it. As a matter of governance, if President Rogge wants to leave that in I am ok with that.

“But in my case it is not something I am concerned with, I have been very privileged to do work for the IOC for the past 23 years without remuneration.”

He also remarked that the president having wages is a form of transparency and he wouldn’t object to it by any means.

On a final note, Carrion summed up his campaign objective by adding that the real reason why he is seeking the highest office is because of his passion for the values of the Olympic Movement and that is what has driven him to enter the race.

September 10 the IOC will elect their favorite in a secret ballot at the IOC session in Buenos Aires. The next president will serve 8 years then be up for a possible 2nd term of 4 years.

Keywords · IOC · Olympics · Richard Carrion · Popular Bank · Verizon

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