For Immediate Release
Tony George Announces New IRL Head and Additions To IMS Corporate Team
INDIANAPOLIS, December 2, 1996 -- Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, today announced several executive staff changes at IMS and the Indy Racing League designed to take the motorsports entertainment company into the next century.
The new executive structure will include two executive vice presidents and three vice presidents reporting to George:
Jeffrey G. Belskus, executive vice president, administration and operations; William R. Donaldson, executive vice president, marketing and sales; W. Curtis Brighton, vice president and general counsel; H. Leo Mehl, vice president and executive director of the Indy Racing League; Fred J. Nation, vice president, corporate communication.
"The 21st Century will bring dramatic change and great challenge to the motorsports entertainment industry, and we intend to be the leading company in the industry," George said. "The formation of the Indy Racing League has been our major recent public step in that direction, and it is already a success."
To carry the IRL to the next level, George announced that Mehl, longtime general manager of worldwide racing for Goodyear, will assume the position of executive director of the Indy Racing League, effective today. Mehl will also serve as a vice president of IMS.
"Leo brings an unparalleled knowledge of racing and solid relationships throughout our industry," George said. "He shares our vision that the future of Indy racing must include an emphasis on oval tracks and an openness and affordability for new teams and drivers. He will be able to build on the success of the IRL and secure the vision."
Mehl retired in 1996 after 37 years service with Goodyear where his responsibilities encompassed all aspects of the racing tire program including sales, marketing, public relations, advertising, race tire development and production. As a chemical engineer, Mehl helped develop the tires which put A.J. Foyt, Jr. and Goodyear back in the Indianapolis 500 winner's circle in 1967.
During 25 years of Mehl's tenure, Goodyear won more than 83 percent of all events in 23 North American and one international racing series in competition with 14 tire companies.
Mehl succeeds Jack Long who has served as executive director of the IRL since January, 1995. Long is leaving to pursue his own racing interests in private business which are compatible with the IRL.
"Jack Long has done a wonderful job in getting the IRL off to a solid start," George said. "He was the right person at the right time, and I will always be grateful to him. As he pursues his own racing interests, the IRL hopes to work with him in the future."
George, the founder and guiding force of the IRL, pledged his full cooperation to Mehl as he builds on the successful experience of the IRL. "The IRL is an important element in the future of auto racing, and I intend to spend more time in helping to direct its future success."
CHANGES AND OTHER ADDITIONS AT IMS
George also announced changes and other additions to the executive staff at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, the parent corporation of the motorsports entertainment company.
"We have already made significant moves to be the leader in our field, and today I am announcing several key personnel changes that will enhance our ability to take advantage of significant opportunities in the future," George said. "We are now better organized to grow, promote and lead, building on the tradition and stability of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
George said the new structure will include two executive vice presidents and three vice presidents to help him guide the future of the Hulman-George interests and free him to spend more time with the IRL and motorsports entertainment.
Serving as executive vice presidents of IMS will be Jeffrey G. Belskus, administration and operations, and William R. Donaldson, marketing and sales.
Belskus holds those titles as well as chief financial officer for both IMS and Hulman & Company of Terre Haute. Belskus, 37, joined the organization in 1987 as controller, was elevated to treasurer in 1989, vice president in 1991, and executive vice president in 1994.
His responsibilities include supervising the disbursement of more than $8 million in prize money for the Indianapolis 500 and more than $4 million for the Brickyard 400.
After graduating from Indiana State University, Belskus earned his CPA designation and worked for Indiana Bell and the Indianapolis office of the accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand before joining IMS.
Joining Belskus as an executive vice president is William R. Donaldson. Donaldson, 40, has been serving as vice president and director of marketing. He joined IMS in 1978 after graduating from DePauw University and was named vice president in 1990.
As president of two IMS subsidiaries -- IMS properties and IMS Events --Donaldson has overseen the worldwide growth in IMS licensing and merchandising. IMS Events currently manages two events at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, the IRL's Indy 200 at Walt Disney World and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Chevy Trucks Challenge. In addition, Donaldson oversees domestic and international television sales and production for IMS's various properties, as well as all IMS publishing.
Joining IMS as vice presidents, in addition to Mehl, are W. Curtis Brighton, currently vice president of Hulman & Company, and Fred J. Nation, currently press secretary and executive assistant to Indiana Governor Evan Bayh.
Brighton, 42, joined Hulman and Company in 1994 as vice president and corporate secretary. He has been a practicing attorney in Terre Haute since 1982 and a partner in the law firm of Day, Swango, Brattain, Nattkemper and Brighton. He holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana State University and a law degree from Drake University.
He will retain his duties with Hulman & Company, and will assume additional duties as part of the executive team with IMS. His responsibilities will include coordination of all legal activities for both organizations.
Nation, 52, has 30 years of experience in several areas of the communications industry, including an eight-year stint as press secretary to Governor Bayh. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Indiana State University, Nation joined the staff of the Terre Haute Star and later edited The Terre Haute Spectator. For six years, he served at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College, where he headed public relations and development. Later, he was a partner in Graphic Edition, Inc., a Terre Haute advertising agency, before joining the staff of Governor Bayh.
He will join IMS on January 13 where he will be responsible for the corporate communication functions, both external and internal, of IMS and its related companies.
"I am very pleased with the work we have done in recent months to identify our strengths and our values as a motorsports entertainment company, and in evaluating and strengthening our corporate leadership team as we build on tradition and success and take our companies to the next level of excellence," George said.