Derek Kent, formerly the US media relations director of Nike
Inc., was appointed executive director, corporate and brand communications for the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Kent will report to chief operating and chief marketing officer, Christopher Overholt, effective July 18.
“Derek’s leadership experience in communications, his understanding of big brands and sports marketing, makes him an outstanding addition to our executive leadership team,” said Overholt. “We look forward to his contributions as we drive an even stronger Olympic brand in Canada.”
In this newly created role, Kent, a bilingual Montreal native, will provide overall direction, management and a strategic view for all COC communication activities, both internally and externally. He will be a key corporate spokesperson and be responsible for managing its brand’s message. He will play a key role in driving communications strategies with its stakeholder groups: athletes, NSF’s, Organizing Committees, Sport Canada, broadcast partners, and business partners. He will manage the COC communications team and be the lead communications representative at Olympic Games.
I am looking forward to playing a leadership role in helping the COC make Canada among the best sports countries in the world,” said Kent. “This is an amazing opportunity and I am thrilled to join the organization at such a dynamic time.”
Most recently, Derek served as US Media Relations Director for NIKE, Inc. He acted as its lead US spokesperson, led the New York media relations office, and was a member of the company’s global communications leadership team. Previously he was a Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, NIKE, Inc. at its company world headquarters in Portland, Oregon, planning and executing communications campaigns and counseling C-suite executives. He also served as Head of Corporate Communications at Nike Canada where he led all of its communications strategies, including the highly successful RUNTO 10K race and was part of the team named Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of the Year. During his time at Nike, Kent acted as a spokesperson at three Olympic Games.
Before joining Nike, Kent was a Vice President at the Toronto-based Veritas Communications, Inc., where he created and led the execution of communications programs for top Fortune 500 brands. He began his career as a political advisor to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and served as the Press Secretary to the Minister of Health in Ottawa. He also played key roles on several winning election campaign teams.
He is a member of the board of trustees at the Pat Fletcher Scholarship Foundation. He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and played for the rugby team. He has completed two Toronto marathons, and plays hockey and golf. He will reside in Toronto with his wife and two children.