Wednesday, May 27, 2009

George Still In Charge As Indy CEO

After a dizzying day of conflicting reports about the status of Tony George as CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, George has confirmed that he will remain at the helm of the family businesses. reported early Wednesday that George had been voted out during a meeting the previous evening in Indianapolis. The report said that a vote by the speedway’s Board of Directors – which includes George’s mother Mari Hulman-George and sisters Josie, Nancy and Kathy – reportedly turned the longtime CEO out, after expressing displeasure with the amount of money George has spent to bankroll the IndyCar Series and upgrade the speedway. said that Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Belskus, and General Counsel Curt Brighton would likely oversee operations until a permanent replacement was named.

By mid-afternoon, however, the Indianapolis Star was reporting that George has not, in fact, been ousted, a report that was confirmed just after 4 pm ET in a press release from the Hulman-George family. That release said, “At a regular meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 26, board members asked Tony George, chief executive officer of the IMS companies, to devise a plan for management of Hulman & Company, the Indy Racing League, Clabber Girl and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that would allow him to focus on the business which requires the greatest attention. This plan is to be presented to the board at a meeting later this year.”

IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George said, “There was a general discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing all of our companies and where most of our energies need to be spent. All of our properties are doing well, given the challenges of the current economy. The Indy Racing League represents our greatest growth opportunity and therefore deserves the most attention at this point.”

Tony George said, “Contrary to published reports, I continue to serve as CEO of IMS. Our board of directors met yesterday, and we did discuss how to best confront challenges and exploit opportunities facing our businesses. This is nothing new and is something that we continually do as a board. But no changes in leadership or responsibility have been made.

“We don’t normally comment on board deliberations concerning our family business,” said George. “However, the widespread, inaccurate reports and rumors caused my mother and me to conclude that it was necessary to set the record straight. If changes are made in the management of the company that are newsworthy, we will announce them when they are made.”

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