26 July 2009
George continues to seek explanation for exit
Former Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George has admitted that he is both disappointed and puzzled as to why he has not been given an real explanation for being forced out of power.
Weeks after rumours of his demise began circulating at the Indianapolis 500, George was releived of his duties at IMS and, feeling that if he was not fit to run the entire operation, he would not run a part of it, stood down from a simialr position at the head of the Indy Racing League.
Left with just ownership of the Vision Racing team he formed to help swell numbers during the height of the IRL-Champ Car split, George admitted that he had had time to mull the situation over in his mind - eventually leading him to pen a follow-up to his original response to his exit at the start of July.
"I continue to be perplexed by the board's recent decision to relieve me from my responsibility as CEO of the enterprise," he wrote on the Vision Racing website, "To date, I have not received a reasonable explanation as to why, the statement they released to the press not withstanding, I feel as though, after 20 years, I am entitled to one. I understand that maybe they don't feel that they owe me an explanation.
"One thing I can tell you is that I stood resolute in my conviction on the direction we needed to go and that the measures we have taken since January are only a beginning. A complete review of how we are structured and operate is necessary. Beyond my being dismissed, I am unaware of any changes that are being contemplated that will have a meaningful impact on the organisation.
"I have been replaced in my role as manager by two individuals who have been with the company for many years. In that time, they have also been members of the executive management team and have participated in all of the strategic decisions that have been made over the last 15 years, so they are well aware of the challenges ahead. My question for the board has been not one of who is going to manage the company, but rather, who is going to lead it? There is a distinction."
With his mother and sisters, all members of the Hulman-George board of directors, apparently concerned at his spending on the Brickyard and, more importantly, the IRL, George insisted that, having initially hoped to have seen a financial benefit to reunifying US open-wheel racing, he had already begun throttling back on the outlay after the League was caught in the spiralling global recession.
"Settling into a different routine after 20 years has been quite an adjustment," he admitted, "I must say, it was neither something I was expecting nor something I had given much consideration to, but not unusual given the time in which we currently live. All around me, I see that people's lives are being affected by the realities of a deepening recession, and we all hope it begins to turn around soon and that better days are what lie ahead.
"I would be less than honest if I said that, last February 2008, after we were able to unify open-wheel racing, I didn't at least let the thought of possibly 'dialling back the boost' a little bit slip into my mind. However, I knew there would be a couple of more years of hard work ahead of us, as we had asked for and been given the opportunity to provide the leadership of the sport going forward. Knowing that there would be reservations expressed by some in our ability to lead, I had confidence that the right team of people had been assembled to take it forward.
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