|Richard Carrión - Chairman of Finance Commission, IOC|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 19 July 2013 15:48
Richard Carrión is a candidate for the Presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the upcoming September election to be held at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.
He is the current Chairman and CEO of Popular, Inc., the parent company of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico.
Carrión has been a member of the IOC since 1990, chairing the Finance Commission and additionally is a member of the IOC’s Marketing, TV and Internet Rights Commission. He was elected as a member of the Executive Committee in 2004.
In the run-up to the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games Carrión also led negotiations for the Games’ U.S. broadcast, earning the Committee $2 billion in revenue.
You have a strong background in business and in particular finance. How do these skills help you when working for sports bodies like the IOC?
I have spent a lot of time in the past 10 years negotiating a lot of the television deals that have been made for the IOC and I have led those teams who have produced little under $8bn in television contracts. From being the head of the finance commission we have overseen the growth in reserves from $100m to $900m as of last month.
How has the organisation developed since you became a member in 1990 and what improvements need to be made?
I think the organisation has absorbed a lot in regards to the commercial and business side of the operation. The amount of funds have grown. The complexity of the contracts have also grown and the organisation itself has grown to roughly 400 people.
There are things that can clearly be improved. We used to outsource the marketing side but that has been bought in-house now and similarly the host-broadcast function was brought in-house under Rogge. One of the areas I think we could do a little more in is providing support to the organising committees and more support in terms of having people in those cities full-time.
You are in the running to be the President of the IOC, is what you just mentioned an important part of your manifesto?
That is just an example of the kind of things I want to achieve. There are many things in terms of management where I bring skills to the table. At the end of the day this is more than dollars and contracts, this is an organisation that is based on values. The appeal of the Olympic Games is fundamentally values that appeal to all of human-kind. That is why people tune in and we cannot forget that. The IOC is not a commercial organisation it is a values-based organisation. Yes, there are some management skills that are needed but if we forget the values then all the commercial contracts in the world are not going to save us.
Why did you enter the race and why would you be the candidate to choose?
I think this is about trust and leadership. Who do you think is the best person to manage and represent the IOC? The movement is in very good shape right now and we enjoy a lot of respect. We are coming from three very successful editions of the Games in London, Vancouver and Beijing and financially we are in very good form. When things are going well, I tend to ask myself ‘what can go wrong?’ We have to understand that in history we have had our ups and downs and it was not that long ago that we had our problems and we were not held in the high-esteem that we are now. What the IOC needs is someone who can manage through good moments and through bad moments.
You talk about things going well for the IOC now, but what do you think is the biggest challenge to the Olympic Movement at this time and how would you overcome it?
There are a lot of things we can see on the horizon. Obviously the complexity of staging the Games in an environment where there is an increased demand for accountability and sustainability. You have the doping issue which is continuing and illegal betting. We also have to provide a career path for athletes after they have finished competing and inspire young people to tackle issues such as obesity. These are problems that are visible, but I am sure there are some that have not revealed themselves yet and we will have to react quickly to those trends.
You chair the Finance Commission. Does this give you an advantage over your competitors and what have you learned chairing this position?
I don’t know! I certainly know the inner-workings of how the movement makes its money and how it distributes its money. I have been a part of that for a long time, but I don’t know if that gives me an advantage. I certainly think I have the managerial, diplomatic and financial skills for the job. As I said, after all is said and done, this is a job about representing a movement and representing values.
You have also been heavily involved in brokering broadcast deals for the IOC. Take me through some of the deals and your role in this department.
I did the NBC deals. One was for a little over $2bn and the other was for $4.4bn so I have been involved in all of the deals outside of Europe and I led those negotiating teams. They have been in the USA, Japan, Australia, China and Brazil amongst others. It adds up to a little bit under $8bn in television contracts that I have led.
If you were to be elected IOC President, what happens to that role?
Somebody else would have to take the lead, but just as I have always touched base with the President and followed his guidance that would happen again in this situation. There is a lot of talent in the membership of the IOC.