CSM puts down marker in USA with recruitment of Octagon's Shifrin
By Simon Ward
CSM Sport & Entertainment, the UK-based sports marketing agency, has outlined the scale of its ambitions for the US market with the high-profile appointment of Jeff Shifrin, until now the president and chief operating officer of Octagon, the international sports and entertainment giant.
Shifrin will take up his new role, as chief executive for North America, in August, with responsibility for building CSM’s consulting business in USA, complementing the existing international consulting services, to support global clients based in or active in the country.
He will also lead and develop CSM’s activation and delivery business areas in USA, including JMI, the motor sports subsidiary, and JHE Production, the US live event activation agency acquired earlier this year.
The move has prompted a restructuring of the management at Octagon, with John Shea and Jeff Ehrenkranz promoted to new presidential roles.
Shifrin spent 18 years at Octagon, including the last 11 as president, overseeing the consulting, events, digital and marketing solutions business worldwide.
His previous roles included director of promotions at Kraft Foods where he worked with leading sports organisations such as Nascar, MLB, Virginia Slims Tennis, USA Basketball and the LPGA.
Shifrin will report to Harlan Stone, CSM’s chairman, North America, with whom he worked previously and maintains good relations, and CSM group chief executive Zak Brown.
CSM, which is headed up by executive chairman Sebastian Coe, announced late last year that it would be targeting investment in North America and Asia following the acquisition of its parent company Chime Communications by Providence Equity Partners, the US private equity firm.
Brown said today: “Our decision to appoint an industry leader with Jeff’s stature and reputation reflects the importance of the US to CSM and the priority we place on continuing to build an outstanding offer in sponsorship brand consulting in the North American market, as well as globally.
“Jeff has an impressive track record. We know he will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to help us challenge the competition and serve our global clients with the best solutions in sponsorship.”
Shifrin said: “I’m delighted to be joining CSM. They are a world-class organisation with great people and exciting ambitions. After 18 fantastic years at Octagon I’m now relishing my next career challenge: helping continue CSM’s growth in North America.”
Following the news of Shifrin’s departure, Octagon announced that Shea, until now president, Octagon Marketing Americas, has taken on the new role of president, marketing and events, adding the events division and the content group to his responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Ehrenkranz has been elevated from managing director EMEI to president, marketing international, adding Asia-Pacific to his remit.
Both men will report directly to Octagon Worldwide chairman and chief executive Rick Dudley.
In a statement, Octagon said that Shea and Ehrenkranz, “both with the organisation for more than 20 years, bring an unmatched expertise, industry relationships and bold commitment to their elevated roles.”
Dudley said: “The leadership, creativity and relentless drive John and Jeff have embodied throughout their careers is unparalleled. One of the hallmarks of Octagon is our leadership, and John and Jeff exemplify everything about Octagon that puts us in the right place to face tomorrow’s market challenges for our clients and our people.”