THE shock resignation of V8 Supercars Australia CEO Cameron Levick (pictured), has dealt a blow to the premier motor racing governing body in Australia half way through its season.
Levick abruptly resigned last week, citing family commitments. Chairman Tony Cochrane told Gold Coast Business News today that the Gold Coast-based organisation will power ahead, despite Levick’s announcement coming as a ‘shock’.
“It’s been my baby the whole time and to be fair, I have been there since day one. I’m all over it like a rash and I’m not about to let it slide,” says Cochrane, from Los Angeles.
Cochrane has been appointed executive chairman and will assume all CEO duties from now until the end of the current V8 Supercar Championship Series season in December. He quashed suggestions there was dissent within the organisation, following the resignation of Levick and another senior official in technical director Campbell Little.
“It came as a shock to all of us, but it was very difficult for him with a young family and the travel demands that are required in this organisation and the role,” says Cochrane.
“The travel made it really tough for him. The reality is we race all around Australia, not the Gold Coast (except for Super GP) and Brisbane.”
Cochrane says there will be no disruptions to the V8 Supercar schedule and that his appointment to executive chairman is logical. The process to re-appoint will commence at the end of July.
“The international head hunter has contacted us, but as I told them, we will not even start the process until July. I’m in LA until next week, and then Darwin, Townsville and Sydney,” he says.
“I will step into the breach and drive things until the end of the season. Our Championship has never been in better health with new and exciting events on the horizon, including the Dunlop Townsville 400 and the Sydney Telstra 500 being introduced this year. I very much look forward to moving into this role of executive chairman for the next six months.”
The V8SA board issued a statement supporting Cochrane: “Tony Cochrane is without doubt the ideal choice to assume this interim role given his expansive knowledge of the business and his experience as the Chairman of the sport from day one in January 1997. His leadership qualities are well proven and he will provide the necessary stability going forward.”
Levick assumed the mantle of one of the most challenging CEO sporting roles in 2009, after replacing Wayne Cattach. He was chosen ahead of more than 60 global applicants. It followed an executive role with global telco Vodafone and a distinguished career with premium international drinks company Diageo.
“V8 Supercars has a very strong team and positive future ahead, that I have no doubt. I am proud of what I have achieved with V8 Supercars and now look forward to the next step of my career,” he says.
Levick told Gold Coast Business News in February that he anticipated a steep learning curve.
“Commercially there are many challenges from a national and global perspective. V8 Supercars has remained reasonably isolated through long-term sponsorship, media and event contracts although the current market will have some impact either directly or indirectly.’
V8 Supercar entities turned over $250 million last financial year. A Queensland Government-led impact study in 2006 revealed the V8 Supercar industry, outside of the Gold Coast Indy 300 and Queensland 400, generated more than $70 million for the South East Queensland economy, making it the largest single sporting entity in the state with 625 fulltime jobs.
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