Canadian Olympic Committee Names Chris Overholt as CEO and Secretary General
The Canadian Olympic Committee today announced Chris Overholt as Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General and introduced a new management structure designed to strengthen the organization for the future. Former CEO and Secretary General Jean R. Dupré is stepping down for personal reasons and will remain as a consultant.
“Chris has the experience and the leadership qualities to drive the Canadian Olympic Team to be among the world’s best. As CEO he will build an extremely strong future for this organization,” said COC President Marcel Aubut. “We understand Jean’s position and I would like to personally thank him for his service to the COC and wish him the very best for continued success.”
In his new role as CEO, Chris Overholt, reporting to the president and the board of directors, will be responsible for leading the organization. Chris was most recently the Chief Operating Officer and CMO for the Canadian Olympic Committee, overseeing the day-to-day activities of the organization and leading the marketing function and business development. A veteran sports industry executive, Chris worked for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League and with the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers. Chris left Canada in 2003, after a successful marketing and sales career with the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
“Sport is our core business and our athletes are at the heart of everything we do. We must give them the tools they need to convert their international success to Olympic podium finishes,” said Overholt. “I look forward to working with our athletes, National Sport Federations and partners as we work to become a best-in-class National Olympic Committee.”
Overholt added: “I want to thank Marcel and the board for this incredible opportunity and I know, together with our leadership team, we have a bright future ahead.”
In addition, Aubut announced the following changes: eliminating the COO role, streamlining the organization with its senior executive leadership team members all now reporting directly to the CEO. Derek Kent, most recently Executive Director for Corporate and Brand Communications for the Canadian Olympic Committee, is promoted to the role of Chief Marketing Officer.
Caroline Assalian, former Executive Managing Director Sport and NSF Relations for the COC, is promoted to the newly created role of Chief Sports Officer.
“After one year of reviewing the organization’s requirements, the board and I agree this new structure will significantly strengthen and enhance our ability to deliver for our athletes and partners,” said Aubut. “I would like to thank the board for their leadership and support.”
Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer
Derek Kent, a bilingual Montreal native, served as the US Media Relations Director for NIKE, Inc. in New York as a senior member of its US Marketing Team. He acted as the lead US spokesperson, led the New York media relations office, was a global spokesman at three Olympic Games and was a member of the company’s global communications leadership team.
Derek is a seasoned marketing and communications executive with 18 years of experience in marketing, brand management, public relations, public affairs, consumer products and digital marketing. He will lead the COC’s Sales, Marketing and Communications functions and oversee the development of innovative corporate sponsorship programs delivering maximum return-on-investment to the COC’s Corporate Partners while leveraging the Canadian Olympic Team brand. Alyson Walker, COC Executive Director of Marketing Partnerships, Dennis Kim, COC Executive Director, Brand Marketing, will continue in their current roles and report to Kent.
“We are very pleased with the talent, expertise and track record of success Derek brings to his new role,” Chief Executive Officer Chris Overholt said. “He is sharply focused on increasing awareness of the Canadian Olympic team and our brand. He and the marketing team will be bringing innovative and creative solutions to corporate partners in this key role.”
Caroline Assalian, Chief Sports Officer
Caroline, a more-than-20-year veteran of the COC, will be responsible for the development and execution of its annual and long-term strategic plan for Sport. Her role will focus on providing proactive levels of service and support to all NSFs in cooperation with the sales, marketing and communications departments. She will continue to lead all COC matters related to Olympic, Pan American and Youth Olympic Games preparation and at-Games operations. In addition, Assalian will provide leadership to all matters of sport and integration with the services provided by the respective NSFs and in coordination with the Own the Podium program.
Jolan Storch, General Counsel and Business Development Advisor
Jolan was most recently a Partner at Macleod Dixon LLP in Calgary. Storch brings years of both professional and personal sport experience to her new position at the COC. Her core practice areas involve sport, sponsorship and brand management legal issues and she specializes in intellectual property matters with a focus on trademark protection and infringement matters in the sporting world.
She has worked extensively for sponsors of all levels, national sports organizations, sport funding organizations, Olympic legacy groups and athlete unions and professional sports teams. Storch will support the COC and Canadian Olympic Foundation in all areas of business: assisting with Board and Session governance and bylaws, legal support for the commercial rights management team, sponsorship contracts and negotiation of various business development projects.
Chief of Finance and Administration
A new Chief Finance and Administration officer is expected to be named in the future. Judy Crute continues in her role as Executive Director of Finance and Operations.