Video Game Exec Named USOC Chairman
Lawrence F. Probst, who last year stepped down after 16 years as chief executive of the video gaming company that produced Madden NFL and Need for Speed, will succeed Peter Ueberroth as the U.S. Olympic Committee chairman, the USOC announced Thursday night.
Probst, 58, was selected by a vote of the USOC's 10-person board of directors two weeks after winning a spot on that board. The term of Ueberroth, who presided over the
USOC for the last four years as it waded out of an ethics and management crisis that precipitated a massive restructuring, expires this year, but he will continue to be involved with the organization as an honorary president, the USOC said.
The USOC's board met by conference call late Thursday afternoon in advance of the USOC's annual Olympic Assembly, which takes place in Orlando next week.
Probst, has served as chairman of Electronic Arts since he resigned from the chief executive post in April, 2007. He said during a conference call Thursday night that his current responsibilities with the company are not so demanding they would prevent him from fully serving the USOC.
During the call, Probst described himself as a lifelong sports fan who played intramural sports at the University of Delaware. He also said he interacted extensively with commissioners and player representatives from the NFL, NBA, international soccer, PGA Tour, NASCAR and other leagues through his video gaming company.
Probst, who said he had been considering the possibility of the position for six or seven months and attended the Summer Games in Beijing, described himself as honored to be selected for the volunteer USOC post and that it would provide him with an opportunity to "give back" after a successful business career.
"Sports has been a significant part of our business at Entertainment Arts for many years," he said. "I can't think of a better way to make a positive contribution... I'm ready to go to work with the rest of the team."
Probst said his priorities would be ensuring the success of the Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Games; expanding the organization's revenue sources; developing the planned Olympic Network and the USOC's online strategies; and harmonizing relationships with various national and international sport governing bodies.
"I'm so pleased Larry has accepted this position," Ueberroth said. "He brings to us a number of skills that are particularly needed at this time"
During Probst's tenure at EA, the company's annual revenues grew from $175 million in 1992 to $3 billion in 2006, expanding operations to 75 countries.
Probst was selected for the USOC board by a nominating committee led by Washington's Jair Lynch, a Stanford graduate and Olympic medal winner in gymnastics.
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