Squaring Octagon

By Published on .

Part of the blame for Interpublic Group of Cos. cutting its profit forecast lies with its sports-marketing arm, Octagon, and the British-based Octagon Motorsports unit.

While Octagon's other two divisions, TV production and athlete representation, have thrived, Motorsports has lost money for several months. An Octagon executive said the division made "a huge investment mistake" by straying from its ownership of such events as the British Grand Prix to buying a series of racetracks in England that are "bleeding money."

That prompted the forced resignation of Motorsports CEO Robert Bain in July. The position still has not been replaced by Interpublic Sports & Entertainment Group Chairman-CEO Mark Dowley, who oversees Octagon.

Last month, Mr. Dowley made two key changes at Octagon, installing former National Hockey League Enterprises President Rick Dudley as North American president and James F. Curtis as worldwide chief marketing officer. Mr. Curtis particularly has vast experience in the business, having worked for Octagon's sports-marketing rival, IMG, for 16 years.

But the agency still remains rudderless to a degree, as Mr. Dowley has yet to replace Octagon Worldwide CEO Les Delano, who was also ousted over the summer.

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