Jay Frye (left) and C.J. O’Donnell (IndyCar photo)
Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles has completed the formation of his leadership team by naming two accomplished sales and marketing executives with extensive automotive and racing industry roots as the leaders of the sales, licensing, marketing and communications functions of Hulman Motorsports.
Connell J. (C.J.) O’Donnell, who has worked in key marketing positions for various brands within Ford Motor Company, will join Hulman Motorsports as chief marketing officer, and Jay Frye, a racing executive who successfully transformed two teams into NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders, is the new chief revenue officer.
“We’ve set a new strategic direction for our motorsports entities, and Jay and C.J. are both top performers who will help us take big leaps forward,” Miles said. “Among their immediate goals are to add sponsors for IndyCar and IMS, improve our level of fan engagement and develop strategies to build alignment among our teams, drivers, venues and sponsors. Our team is in place, and there’s no offseason as we prepare for 2014.”
The appointments complete a reorganization that began earlier this year. This includes combining the commercial functions of IndyCar and IMS, including sales, licensing, marketing and communications, into Hulman Motorsports, which O’Donnell and Frye will lead. In May, Derrick Walker was named as president of IndyCar operations and competition. Other members of the Hulman leadership team include Jeff Belskus, president and chief financial officer of Hulman & Company; Gretchen Snelling, vice president and chief legal counsel; Robby Greene, president of IMS Productions; and Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.
O’Donnell recently served as Ford’s group marketing manager for electric vehicles in Detroit, where he was recognized for the launch of several hybrid vehicles and has orchestrated a record year for hybrid and electric vehicle sales. During his 20-year career with Ford, he also has led marketing for the Lincoln and Jaguar brands domestically and abroad and was a member of a small team that led the turnaround of the Mazda brand.
“There’s a lot of strength in the combined horsepower of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar,” O’Donnell said. “Initially, I’ll focus my energy on a common brand and clear message for our fans. This will include working together with our key stakeholders and ensuring marketing alignment among teams, drivers, sponsors and venues.”
O’Donnell will lead a combined team of IndyCar and IMS marketing and communications staff.
Frye led the transformation of the Red Bull Racing Team in NASCAR Sprint Cup into a contender that earned a berth in the 2009 Chase for the Championship during his tenure as vice president and general manager from 2008-11. In addition, he spent 12 years at MB2 Motorsports, LLC, a NASCAR Sprint Cup team he helped build from the ground up into a multi-team operation. As the chief executive officer and general manager, he negotiated what was an industry-first – a sponsorship/ownership package with The Valvoline Company.
Frye also has other sales and marketing experience, including several years with Anheuser-Busch.
“IndyCar’s value proposition for sponsors is second to none as it provides fans with a great racing product, and with IMS, we have incredible history and tradition,” Frye said. “For our teams and fans, we will work hard to bring sponsor/partners into the sport that will enhance the overall fan experience. It’s an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to being a part of the team.”
Frye will lead a combined team of IndyCar and IMS sponsorship sales, licensing and account services staff. IMS suite and hospitality sales will remain an IMS function under Boles’ direction.