NASCAR, amid slumping attendance and TV ratings, has appointed former Chevrolet executive Brent Dewar as COO, effective Jan. 6.
Dewar, 58, a 31-year General Motors veteran, retired from the automaker in April 2010 after holding a number of leadership posts, mostly at Chevrolet.
Dewar was head of GM sales and marketing in Europe in 2008-09. He was then picked to lead Chevrolet’s global launch. He retired after numerous management shake-ups related to GM’s bankruptcy. A decade ago, as Chevrolet’s general manager, Dewar helped launch the “An American Revolution” ad campaign that lasted until 2010.
Since leaving GM, Dewar has been a consultant for a number of companies, including NASCAR.
NASCAR CEO Brian France said in a statement today: “In Brent Dewar, we will add a seasoned leader with deep experience in the automotive sector, plus intimate knowledge of and passion for NASCAR as well as various other forms of motorsports.”
Dewar’s appointment will enable France to focus on “setting the vision for NASCAR” and implementing “key growth initiatives” NASCAR said today.
The challenges are substantial. NASCAR’s TV ratings have been slumping for nearly a decade. And attendance also is in a tailspin.
NASCAR oversees such races as the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 that feature heavily modified production cars. Only about 70,000 fans attended the Brickyard 400 in July, leaving the 250,000-seat racetrack in Indianapolis almost two-thirds empty. NASCAR has been battling falling TV ratings, down between 10 and 20 percent, since 2008.
France said of Dewar: “He's a leader who's naturally collaborative, an essential trait as we work more closely with the OEMs, teams, tracks, broadcast partners and others to grow the sport over the next decade.”
Dewar told NASCAR.com: “Brian and the leadership have really set a vision for growth and change. I've had a chance through my consulting practice to be up close and personal with that. So the role I'm going to play is to work with this great team of folks they've put in place and try to accelerate the change process.”
NASCAR also announced three promotions, also effective Jan. 6. Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps will become an executive vice president. Steve O’Donnell, senior vice president of racing operations, will become an executive vice president. And general counsel Gary Crotty will become chief legal officer/general counsel.