USOC names Sarah Hirshland as new chief executive

USOC names Sarah Hirshland as new chief executive

United States Olympic Committee 

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has named Sarah Hirshland as its new chief executive.

Currently chief commercial officer at the United States Golf Association, Hirshland will succeed Scott Blackmun, who stood down in February as Team USA came under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar gymnastics sex abuse case. Susanne Lyons had stepped in as interim director following Blackmun’s resignation.

The USOC said that Hirshland’s appointment comes at ‘a time of transformation and change for the organisation’ as it attempts to rebuild its reputation after being criticised for failing to intervene despite learning of possible sexual misconduct by Nassar in the summer of 2015, a year before the accusations were made public.

“The USOC is at a critical time in its history and requires an energetic, creative and inspiring leader who is capable of building on past success while making sure that the athletes we serve are protected, supported and empowered in every possible way,” said USOC chairman Larry Probst.

“I’m thrilled that Sarah has accepted the position and thankful to the diverse slate of candidates who participated in our process to hire the very best person for this important responsibility.”

Prior to joining the USGA in 2011, Hirshland was senior vice president for strategic business at Wasserman Media Group. She also previously worked in the company’s consulting division, leading the development of sports marketing strategies for the likes of American Express, Nationwide and Nokia.

Hirshland’s previous experience also includes spells with sports and entertainment firm OnSport and sport news and technology company Total Sports.

“I also recognise the challenges ahead as we navigate this critical moment in the USOC’s history,” added Hirshland, who will assume her new role by the end of August.

“We must protect, support and empower athletes, young and old, elite and beginner. Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United States must be a shining example, able to provide athletes with the benefits of participation in an environment free from abuse of any kind. The USOC has made great strides in this area and I look forward to carrying on that critically important work.”