Mark McCormack’s International Management Group (IMG) has promoted Eric Drossart to senior vice-president, and managing director for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
The move makes Drossart one of the most powerful men in the sports business world. IMG, a privately owned company, earns revenues of 1bn a year.
Drossart replaces Ian Todd, who left on Friday for the US to set up a sports marketing division with sportswear giant Nike.
An IMG executive says that Drossart, a former Belgium tennis professional, was “favourite” to replace Todd when news of his departure came last year (MW September 2 1997).
Former colleagues say Todd is particularly skilled at negotiating complex deals. But Drossart is intimately familiar with the global TV market, which is vitally important to IMG’s business.
Drossart was formally head of IMG’s TV arm, Trans World International (TWI). He keeps his old position, but it is understood that IMG will look for a replacement.
Peter Lewinton, managing director of Universal Sports Marketing, who worked for seven years at IMG, says: “Drossart gets on well personally with McCormack and is liked inside the industry. But as the market becomes more competitive, IMG will face challenges to its dominance.”
Drossart becomes one of McCormack’s three trusted lieutenants.
The other two are Alastair Johnston, managing director of Asia, Australia and the Pacific Rim, and Robert Kain, managing director for North and South America. All three report directly to McCormack.
IMG represents top sports stars and owns sports broadcasting rights for everything from football to tennis and golf.