USA Cycling has selected its next president and CEO — and he might be able to drop you on a bike ride.
Derek Bouchard-Hall, former national criterium champion and member of the 2000 Olympic track squad, was appointed CEO by USA Cycling’s board of directors, the national federation announced Thursday.
And while Bouchard-Hall, 44, has a substantial racing pedigree, USA Cycling chairman Bob Stapleton stressed that it was his impressive management and business experience that saw the federation select him from a pool of 47 qualified candidates put forth by executive recruitment firm Korn Ferry.
Since October 2011, Bouchard-Hall — who holds degrees from Stanford, Princeton, and Harvard — has been an executive with Wiggle, one of the world’s largest online retailers of cycling equipment, most recently serving as director of international and pricing.
“While his breadth and depth of knowledge around the sport is a fortunate plus, we hired him fundamentally for his business background — for what he’s done since he left cycling,” Stapleton told VeloNews.com. “He was hired for his understanding of modern methods in engaging in customers. Wiggle is a perfect extension of this — their business succeeds based on how well they engage and grow their customer base. That’s vital for a member-oriented organization.”
Originally from Massachusetts, Bouchard-Hall began his cycling career while attending Princeton University, where he took a degree in architectural engineering in 1992. He graduated from Stanford in 1994 with an MS in structural engineering, and then embarked on a pro racing career that involved stints with Shaklee and Mercury. It was in Mercury colors that Bouchard-Hall won the national criterium championship at Downers Grove in 2000; during his tenure with the Mercury squad he also raced Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem, and Criterium International. In 1999, Bouchard-Hall was a member of the gold medal-winning team pursuit squad at the Pan Am Games, and he was selected as a member of the U.S. team for the 2000 Olympic Games, where the U.S. finished 10th.
After retiring from cycling in 2002 due to Iliac Artery Endofibrosis, he attained an MBA from Harvard Business School and began a career in consulting with Ernst & Young in Boston, and then with McKinsey in London. At McKinsey, Bouchard-Hall focused on designing and implementing change programs across a range of commercial and governmental organizations. He joined Wiggle in 2011, where he rose to assume leadership of the international business of the rapidly growing global online retailer.
Bouchard-Hall will start with USA Cycling in June, relocating from London to Colorado Springs. His arrival will overlap with outgoing CEO Steve Johnson, who will leave the federation in October, following the UCI world road championships in Richmond, Virginia.
“I could not be more excited to be returning to the sport I love at this time in its history,” Bouchard-Hall said in a USA Cycling statement. “We hope to capitalize on the very positive aspects of cycling, including the growth of women’s cycling and the broadening of participation in cycling by those seeking to improve their fitness and well-being. I can’t wait to get started.”
Bouchard-Hall’s younger brother, Kevin, also raced as a pro, taking the best young rider’s competition at the 2004 Tour de Georgia while racing for the composite U.S. National-TIAA-CREF team before turning pro with Kenda-Raleigh and Kelly Benefit Strategies.
Stapleton, who ran the Highroad organization from 2007 through 2011 and was elected as USA Cycling’s chairman in June 2014, said that in addition to Bouchard-Hall’s business experience and racing background, his passion for the challenges of the position is profound.
“He’s on fire about this — for him this is kind of a dream job,” Stapleton said. “During the search process we were counting on this, finding someone with this kind of passion. It’s not the highest-paying job, and it’s not always fun. You have to want it, and you have to believe you can have an impact.”
Stapleton said he anticipated that Bouchard-Hall would take on the title of CEO “almost immediately” upon his arrival in June, adding that he would work closely with Johnson throughout the summer.
“It was our hope all along to get someone on board quickly, to have a meaningful overlap, and a knowledge transfer,” Stapleton said. “Steve has an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport. Derek will focus on the path ahead, but he will also benefit from Steve’s knowledge. Derek will take on the title almost immediately, and Steve will support him through the end of the year.”
Asked what Bouchard-Hall’s first order of business would be for the federation, Stapleton said it would be to “engage with stakeholders and members, to plot a path forward, for USA Cycling and for the sport.”
“He’s got a ton of passion for this, and more than enough knowledge of the sport,” Stapleton said. “His fresh outlook and enthusiasm will be highly effective in pulling together the diverse groups that USA Cycling works with daily.”
Asked how closely he anticipates he will be working with Bouchard-Hall, as the chairman of the board living remotely — Stapleton resides in San Luis Obispo, California — Stapleton said he felt a renewed enthusiasm to be involved with the sport.
“This is very motivating for me, and a key moment for the organization,” Stapleton said. “I’m very enthusiastic. Of course, that will be up to Derek, but I would love to support him and support the organization. This is really reigniting a personal passion for the sport. I believe there’s a lot we can do for cycling in America. I’m optimistic, and I would like to get him in a position that he can really drive change.”