U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors announces leadership changes

Board chair Larry Probst to step down at end of 2018 term, replaced by Susanne Lyons

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced that USOC Board Chair Larry Probst will step down from the board at the end of 2018 and be succeeded by Susanne Lyons, independent USOC board member and until recently the USOC’s acting CEO (Feb. 28-Aug. 20, 2018). Lyons’ four-year term as chair will begin on Jan 1, 2019. She was succeeded as CEO by Sarah Hirshland.

Probst was first elected chair of the board in October 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2016. He leaves the board having led a transformative period in USOC history, both on and off the field of play.

“Serving as chairman of the USOC board of directors has been an extraordinary honor and I’m proud of the work we did during my tenure to support American athletes, and advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements,” said Probst. “I became chairman at a difficult time for the USOC and worked diligently with my colleagues here in the U.S., and around the world, to change the USOC for the better. It’s now time for a new generation of leaders to confront the challenges facing the organization and I have the utmost confidence in Susanne’s and Sarah’s ability to do just that.”

Probst led board approval of a first-of-its-kind athlete safety program and the launch of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an independent entity with a critically important role to play as the sport community continues to respond to incidents of abuse.

The successful renegotiation of the USOC’s revenue sharing agreement with the International Olympic Committee is seen as a signature success of Probst’s tenure. That agreement contributed to renewed positive relationships with the international community and led to Probst’s election to the IOC in 2013. Probst is also a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees Executive Council, as well as the Panam Sports Organization’s Executive Committee. That engagement played a significant role in the USOC’s successful campaign to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games back to the United States in LA 2028.

Probst also led the USOC during one of the most successful periods on the field of play in American history with Team USA athletes topping the Olympic medal counts in Vancouver, London and Rio, as well as the Paralympic medal count in PyeongChang.

Additionally, significant financial stability was achieved during Probst’s time as chair through long-term broadcast and corporate partner agreements, and the launch of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, leaving the organization well-positioned to continue unprecedented support for American athletes.

“Larry led the USOC at a critical time in the history of the organization,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “At the same time, he became a trusted voice and valuable member of the IOC, chairing one of the most important commissions, he played a crucial role in the creation of the Olympic Channel and its success both worldwide and in the United States. Under his leadership, and through his personal efforts, the standing of the United States in the international sport community was greatly improved. The awarding of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Los Angeles is a fitting testament to his efforts.”

Lyons was elevated to chair from her role as an independent director via unanimous election of the full USOC board. She was first elected to the board in December 2010, bringing with her more than 30 years of expertise in organizational management, marketing, sponsorship, business strategy and revenue generation. In January 2018, Lyons was selected as chair of the USOC board’s working group addressing issues of athlete safety, and a response to the Nassar case specifically. Since then she has dedicated herself to leading the USOC’s efforts to ensure a process that is independent, transparent, sensitive and accessible.

“I’m honored that the board has entrusted me with this position, eager to continue to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and ready to do the work necessary to regain the trust of our athlete community; particularly survivors of abuse,” said Lyons. “I’ve been associated with the Olympic and Paralympic movements for nearly two decades and never dreamed I would be in this position. It’s no secret that the USOC is at critically challenging time in its history and we simply must get it right. I intend to make sure we do.”

Lyons served as the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Visa USA – a member of the IOC’s The Olympic Partner (TOP) Program – from 2004-07. Prior to that, Lyons held leadership roles for Charles Schwab & Co., and Fidelity Investments. She has also served on a variety of public and not-for-profit boards.