USA Cycling is on the hunt for a new leader.
On Friday cycling’s American governing body revealed that current President and CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall plans to step down from his post at the end of 2018 to oversee a separate company. Bouchard-Hall, 48, took over at USA Cycling in June 2015, following the departure of Steve Johnson, who oversaw the organization for nine years.
“It’s bittersweet. We like Derek and he’s put his heart and soul into this place, and we’ve benefitted from that,” said Bob Stapleton, USA Cycling’s chairman. “We want him to do what is good for him and his family. There’s no drama and we’re going to miss him.”
According to a USA Cycling representative, Bouchard-Hall and Stapleton will share the CEO role until Bouchard-Hall steps down in December. Stapleton said that USA Cycling has begun the process of hiring Bouchard-Hall’s replacement. The organization has retained a recruiting firm, which will work with a small selection committee within the organization to find a successor. The organization hopes to have a replacement hired by the second quarter of 2018, Stapleton said.
“This is not our first rodeo. We did this four years ago,” Stapleton said. “We don’t want to lose any momentum, and [Bouchard-Hall] is helping us through the transition. We’ll make sure we keep moving forward.”
A former national criterium champion and member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic pursuit team, Bouchard-Hall took over USA Cycling after working for online cycling retailer Wiggle. His racing background and impressive resume—Bouchard-Hall has an MBA from Harvard Business School and began a career in consulting with Ernst & Young—made him an ideal candidate for the position.
But Bouchard-Hall took over amid a period of upheaval in American cycling. For many cycling fans, the specter of doping during the early 2000’s had tarnished USA Cycling’s reputation, as the governing body oversaw the development of the country’s top young riders. Shifts in participatory cycling trends, among other dynamics, led to an erosion of USA Cycling’s membership. And the organization’s lineup of corporate partnerships sagged.
Stapleton praised Bouchard-Hall’s leadership during this tough period for the organization, and said Bouchard-Hall’s efforts led to success across the board.
“I can’t say he fell short anywhere,” Stapleton said. “We’ve made dramatic changes in our informational systems and web and mobile tools. He rebuilt a bunch of relationship inside the sport with our core constituency. Athletically, we moved to a high-performance model. And overall, I think our management team is the best I’ve ever seen.”
Stapleton said Bouchard-Hall’s successor does face challenges, namely in rebuilding a connection with casual and enthusiast riders. The successor must also grow USA Cycling’s lineup of corporate sponsors.
“People are still riding but they’re doing things differently, and USA Cycling has got to adapt to that,” Stapleton said. “I don’t think the fundamental demand has changed.”
In a release, Bouchard-Hall said the decision to leave was “the hardest professional decision of my life.”
“My professional career has focused on improving organizations and setting them on a new path,” he said. “I am confident that I have done that at USA Cycling, and am proud of the team we have in place which will continue improving our ability to support our membership.”