By VeloNews Interactive
June 25, 2002USA Cycling’s board of directors named retail and food industry executive Gerard Bisceglia as the organization’s new chief executive officer on Tuesday, replacing Lisa Voight who left the post in May.
Bisceglia, 52, most recently president of Shogun Express, a restaurant management firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, was national sales manager for the Southland Corporation’s 7-Eleven chain when the firm ventured into cycling sponsorship in the 1980s. Bisceglia served as a trustee on the board of U.S. PRO from 1997 to 2001.
During a Tuesday conference call, the USA Cycling board approved a search committee’s recommendation that Bisceglia be offered the post. He accepted the board’s offer later in the day and is scheduled to assume the post on July 1.
Voight, meanwhile, has a two-year contract that allows her to continue as USA Cycling’s “senior advisor for Olympic and international relations,” a position said to be paid at $100,000 a year. Voight was paid $170,000 a year as CEO. Voight is currently on a family leave of absence.
In a news release issued Tuesday, Bisceglia was quoted as saying he was “honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead USA Cycling. I plan to get out in the field as quickly as I can to learn first hand from the members, officials, promoters and sponsors about their issues and to hear their ideas on how we can expand competitive cycling. I am also eager to immerse myself in all the disciplines of bike racing, especially mountain biking and BMX, so I can better understand their unique needs.”
As an executive at The Southland Corporation from 1972 to 1991, Bisceglia rose to become national sales manager, overseeing store operations for 7-Eleven’s 8000-store chain. While at 7-Eleven he managed the sports marketing department that oversaw the company’s sponsorship of the 7-Eleven Cycling Team.
Bisceglia later moved to the Circle K Corporation as vice president of marketing and then moved to the restaurant industry, serving as chief operating officer of Main Street & Main and then as president of Shogun Express.
Jim Ochowicz, board president of USA Cycling said that Bisceglia’s background may help the organization deal with its most pressing problems, a precipitous drop in membership and an uncertain financial picture. While membership in the USCF has stabilized, NORBA membership has dropped by 30 percent in the last year. A large part of that decline can be attributed to riders licensing through alternative regional and state-based organizations.
The organization is moving toward financial stability after a difficult period, triggered in part by the early withdrawal of EDS from what was expected to be a long-term sponsorship agreement.
The financial problems were further exacerbated by the organization’s once-common practice of accelerated spending of sponsorship dollars – for example using funds from a five-year sponsorship arrangement over the course of four years. The result was an estimated $2 million shortfall two years ago that resulted a 20-percent staff cut and the elimination of programs.
“Gerard’s experience managing mass-market retail organizations will be important in addressing the membership challenges USA Cycling has faced in recent years,” said Ochowicz. “He also brings a reputation for fair dealing and financial responsibility.”
Steve Johnson, who served as the organization’s interim chief executive officer after Voight’s departure in May, is expected to remain on staff in his previous position of chief operating officer.