Competitor Group, Inc., named David Abeles as chief executive officer, effective immediately. Additionally, Barrett Garrison has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer and Keith Kendrick has been permanently appointed Chief Marketing Officer.
“David, Barrett and Keith have a passion for building and leading teams, are brand savvy and have proven track records operating complex businesses,” said Paul F. Walsh, Chairman of CGI, who was serving as interim CEO and led the global search. “I couldn’t be more delighted that these talented executives are joining Competitor Group and will devote their talents to growing the finest media and event company in the world.”
David Abeles brings a 20-year career of executive experience in the sports industry to CGI. He was most recently the Executive Vice President and General Manager at TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Company, where over the past six years he led the commercial operations of a $1.8 billion global equipment and apparel division. Prior to TaylorMade, Abeles served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Cobra Golf. There, he was responsible for the brand strategy, marketing platform and corporate positioning that drove revenue growth five-fold during his six-year tenure.
“This is a very exciting time for the endurance sports industry and it’s a great privilege to lead the talented team at CGI,” said Abeles, who is originally from New York and lives in Del Mar, CA with his wife and three sons. “As participation and interest in running and triathlon events continue to grow around the world, I’m incredibly energized by the opportunity to help contribute to the next phase of our growth and innovation, setting the standard for operating world-class events and delivering the most authentic content to the active lifestyle community.”
Barrett Garrison comes to CGI with a leadership background in operational finance across a multitude of consumer facing companies. Most recently he spent the past six years as the Vice President and then CFO of NetSpend Corporation, the leading provider of reloadable prepaid debit cards, which was recently acquired by TSYS for $1.4 billion. Prior to NetSpend, Garrison held senior finance positions with Dell and Seiko Instruments.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” said Garrison, an avid mountain biker who played football at the University of New Mexico. “There is an incredible amount of passion about the business and the customer we serve. I’m honored to be a part of this community and join the great team here at CGI.”
Keith Kendrick joined CGI as a consultant and was appointed interim Chief Marketing Officer in October 2013. He has been driving a number of marketing initiatives including brand standardization, grassroots and multiple channel direct marketing. In large part due to Kendrick’s efforts, CGI’s flagship event brand, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series has seen a 5 percent increase in registration year to date.
“In David and Barrett we have two superb leaders joining CGI, and I am looking forward to working with them to build the premier company from our already world-leading position in the endurance sports industry,” said Kendrick. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished during my short time as interim CMO and look forward to being part of the company’s continued success by improving the participant experience at our events and growing the value of our media brands.”
Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI) is the active lifestyle industry’s leading media and event entertainment company. CGI owns and operates 53 events around the world, including its flagship Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, KiDS Rock Series, TriRock Triathlon Series and Women’s Running Series, collectively welcoming more than 500,000 professional and amateur participants in 2014. Anchoring the company with rich content are four publishing brands dedicated to running, cycling and triathlon including Women’s Running, Triathlete, Velo, and Competitor with a combined monthly circulation of over 700,000. The race services division of CGI, Race IT is the second largest provider of online registration solutions to endurance event organizers around the world.