A Chance to Make History


On February 2, 2010 Randy Bernard, CEO of the Professional Bull Riders Association was named the CEO of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the Indianapolis 500 at the 101 year old Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Everything I can see about the man I like. He obviously has marketing savvy which could be a huge asset to not just the League but the entire Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. He's not afraid to work because he created Professional Bull Riders as a business from the ground up, wearing many hats and learning about television, merchandising, promotion and on-line customer engagement. Some have expressed concern that as a person with no previous interest in motor sport, and a man who has never seen an IndyCar race, that he lacks an appreciation for the sport and an understanding of its fans.


The irony that has occurred to me is that here is a man who has little previous knowledge of Indianapolis 500 history who has a huge opportunity to shape its future. If he is successful, his name may rank among the great leaders of the past: Carl Fisher, James Allison, Eddie Rickenbacker, Tony Hulman, Wilbur Shaw and on. The question is not his marketing skills or his lack of familiarity with the sport. The question is his leadership.


Will he be embraced? Will he be able to focus the entire company and unify them in a shared vision? Or will he encounter, as happens in so many corporations and organizations, indignant people with envy in their hearts whose pride motivates them to thwart his efforts? When he does meet with those that resent him or want to compete with him, does he have the ability to win them over not necessarially to his perspective, but to a shared path forward to preserve and advance the greatest sport God every allowed to exist?


I wish him well and while there will be hundreds coming at him with their views - and thousands more who would love to do the same - I hope that the right people will do some listening as well.