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Interim CEO insists Bernard not sacked

The Interim CEO of the IZOD IndyCar Series Jeff Belskus has insisted that Randy Bernard was not fired from the position last weekend, in an open letter to fans on Thursday.
Jeff Belskus, the interim CEO of the IZOD IndyCar Series and president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has written an open letter to fans of the sport insisting that Randy Bernard was not fired from his position last weekend at an emergency board meeting of the owners.

"There has been, and continues to be, speculation and rumours that Randy was fired," admitted Belskus. "That is just not true. A mutual separation and an advisory role for Randy was accepted last Sunday evening in a special board meeting.

"Randy brought us fresh ideas and energizing leadership at a time when it was truly needed, and he helped us overcome the challenge of getting new cars created and competing," he continued. "We thank him for his contributions. Today, we still face challenges and are moving to address them immediately, but we also have a great opportunity and reason for hope from which we can build.

Belskus admitted that "without a doubt, the last few days have been challenging for the IndyCar community," acknowledging the sheer volume of sharp criticism that the series management has come under in the last week from media and fans, particularly over the way that Bernard's departure was handled.

Although it's been widely reported that the team owners at least were keen to see the end of Bernard's tenure as series CEO, the feeling was certainly not unanimous. There was even criticism of the way that Bernard's exit was handled from one of the leading team owners in the paddock, Roger Penske, who told the Associated Press on Monday: "I'm very disappointed in this decision; the board continues to show poor judgement. There is no future plan.

"The series had momentum. New cars, new engines and new race formats, all brought about by Randy," he added. "No business can run with a senior management change every two years."

"What Roger said was spot on, no major corporation can succeed when there's a change of executives every two or three years," concurred Rahal Letterman Lanigan co-owner Bobby Rahal. “I've never seen a series with so many good things going for it consistently shoot itself in the foot.

"We've got great races, Randy put some great people in place there and got rid of a lot of the dead wood and I would just love to know the reasoning [for Sunday's board decision]. It's just embarrassing."

But broadly speaking the team owners backed the decision for Bernard to stand down as CEO, with Michael Andretti issuing a statement reading: "We believe that the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, IMS President and CEO Jeff Belskus and the Hulman-George family will make the right decisions that leverage the many strengths of IndyCar for the benefit of the fans, teams, drivers, promoters and sponsors."




Related Pictures

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Team owners Chip Ganassi (middle) and Roger Penske (right) talk at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the managing director of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Mike Hull (left.) [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
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IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Jeff Belskus. (Picture credit: IndyCar Media)
Jeff Belskus joined by veteran TV commentator Bob Jenkins and then-IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard with the green flag at Indianapolis. (c) 2012 F. Peirce Williams (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
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Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with his wife Liz Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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Will Power wheel-to-wheel with Graham Rahal (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
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Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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