AMBSE top guns promoted to key roles


AMBSE appoints new Executives Image: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Blank Family of Businesses Owner and Chairman, Arthur M. Blank, announced on January 9th the promotions of five senior executives to new roles and responsibilities within the Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE) portfolio. The AMBSE includes the National Football League’s (NFL’s) Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer’s (MLS’s) Atlanta United FC and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, US.

‘Atlanta Falcons’ stated that Steve Cannon, currently head honcho of AMBSE, has been named Vice-Chairman of AMBSE. Rich McKay has been named the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AMBSE and will continue in his role as CEO of the Atlanta Falcons. Greg Beadles has been elevated to President of the Atlanta Falcons and has assumed day-to-day leadership of all business functions for the franchise. The AMBSE Chief Revenue Officer Tim Zulawski has been elevated to President of AMBSE and a search for a new Chief Commercial Officer to oversee sponsorship will begin shortly. Dietmar Exler has been promoted to Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and continues as CEO of the Arthur M. Blank Family Office.

The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, US. The Falcons compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference South division.

The Atlanta United FC, commonly known as Atlanta United, is an American professional soccer club based in Atlanta, US, that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference. Founded in 2014, the Atlanta United began play as an MLS expansion team in 2017, as the 22nd team in the league.

The 75,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a multipurpose stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Opened in August 2017 as a replacement for the Georgia Dome, it serves as the home stadium of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS).

Maintained Blank, “I’ve always believed leadership continuity and thoughtful succession planning are hallmarks of great organizations and we have been intentional in developing an exceptional, deep group of seasoned executives to lead our businesses into the future. These new roles are reflective of how each of these leaders embodies our Core Values and their outstanding performance over the years. I’m grateful for their loyal, dedicated and excellent service to our businesses, associates and partners, as well as to me and my family. They deserve these opportunities, and I couldn’t be more confident they will continue to lead our businesses with a sharp focus on our fans, customers, guests, and associates at the highest standards, while continuing to foster a culture that is representative of our values.”

‘Atlanta Falcons’ further stated that these five leaders have a combined 78 years of experience in Blank’s organization – Cannon (seven years), McKay (19 years), Beadles (28 years), Zulawski (20 years), and Exler (four years) and three of them (Cannon, McKay and Exler) have previous CEO experience.

Late in 2022, Blank announced C-suite promotions (high-ranking executive titles in an organization) within his PGA TOUR Superstore (PGATSS) business with CEO Dick Sullivan adding Executive Chairman duties and Jill Spiegel being promoted to President of PGATSS. Sullivan will continue reporting directly to Blank.

The PGA TOUR Superstore is the PGA TOUR’s exclusive off-course/off-airport retail partner operating stores nationwide. PGA TOUR Superstore provides golf and tennis players alike with unparalleled selection, exceptional services and guaranteed low prices.

Rich McKay

Rich McKay has been with the organization for 19 years, joining as the Falcons’ General Manager in 2004 and then being named President and CEO of the team in 2011. He has led the NFL’s influential Competition Committee as Chairman since 2011, was Co-Chairman from 1998-2011 and joined the Committee in 1994. During that time, McKay has been instrumental in developing the NFL onfield product into the unmatched success it is today.

As President and CEO of the team in recent years, McKay has overseen numerous improvements and expansion at the team’s Flowery Branch, GA, complex, including a state-of-the-art Emory orthopedic center attached to the team’s indoor practice facility and a primary building expansion that is the new home to the Ticketmaster studios. He also led the search process that culminated in Arthur Smith being named the Falcons’ 18th Head Coach and Terry Fontenot becoming the Falcons’ 11th General Manager.

Now with more than 30 years in the NFL, McKay’s experience also includes leading efforts to build two current NFL stadiums – the 65,890-capacity Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium – which opened in 2017. McKay was the point person in negotiation, development and building the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a process that began in 2008. McKay also played a role in helping Blank develop early plans for the organization’s foray into Major League Soccer with Atlanta United in 2017, as well as the framework for what would become Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment, the umbrella organization for the Falcons, Atlanta United and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

As the CEO of AMBSE, McKay will continue reporting to the AMBSE Vice-Chairman, Steve Cannon, for that part of his oversight role. New Falcons President Greg Beadles and AMBSE President Tim Zulawski, as well as the leaders of AMBSE shared services, will all report to McKay. Reporting directly to Blank in his Falcons CEO role, McKay will maintain day-to-day oversight of football operations, with Falcons’ Head Coach Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot, the team’s General Manager, continuing to report to him. The son of legendary coach John McKay, Rich McKay and his wife, Terrin, are the parents of two grown sons, John and Hunter. John is a Pro Personnel Director with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, and Hunter works in the Athletic Department at the Kennesaw State University in Metro Atlanta.

Blank on McKay – “Rich’s deep understanding of the NFL, his intimate knowledge of the rest of our businesses in the sports and entertainment portfolio, along with the trust he and I have developed over almost two decades together, uniquely qualify him to take on this complex dual role at such an important time. He’s a champion of our core values and the culture we want in our organization and that gives me great confidence in him shouldering these critical roles going forward.”

Greg Beadles

Having started with the Atlanta Falcons as an intern after earning a bachelor’s degree from the Louisiana State University and master’s degree from the Georgia State University, Beadles begins his 29th year with the club being named President of the team. In his almost three decades with the organization, Beadles has held numerous roles with the Falcons and AMBSE, including being part of the finance team that orchestrated the transfer of ownership of the Falcons from the Rankin Smith family to Arthur M. Blank in 2001. Known league wide as an expert in team and facility operations and finance, Beadles has built unique trust among his peers, colleagues and Blank himself on the strength of his financial acumen, business savvy, versatility, and personal values.

A two-time CFO of the Year, Beadles has provided leadership across AMBSE in business strategy, finance, technology, facility development, and operations, and data and analytics. Working closely with Rich McKay, Beadles played a lead role in every aspect of developing, financing, design, and construction of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Since the Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in 2017, Beadles has led several functions that have allowed the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to meet Blank’s vision as a best-in-class fan experience venue for sports, entertainment and private events. He also played a central role in the organization’s acquisition of an MLS expansion team that would become Atlanta United and concepting and developing AMBSE into one of the leading multiproperty sports and entertainment companies. Outside of his professional roles, Beadles is a Board Member of the College Football Hall of Fame, is co-founding Board Chair of both the Oak Hill Classical School in Dacula, Georgia, and the Arete Scholars Fund, a non-profit that has awarded academic scholarships to 15,000 low-income children since 2010.

As Atlanta Falcons president, Beadles will report to Rich McKay and assumes day-to-day oversight of finance, operations, marketing, digital, communications, human resources, and community relations, as well as shared functions related to game presentation, retail, sales, and service. Beadles’ father spent over 50 years as a basketball coach and Athletic Director, mostly in Georgia, so his career, passion for the State and ties to the Falcons are deeply rooted. Beadles, his wife Jill, and their children (Ella, Grant, Evie, and Hudson) reside in Metro Atlanta.

Put in Beadles, “I grew up wearing Steve Bartkowski’s jersey and red helmet in my backyard as a child growing up in Georgia, so my love for the Falcons is part of who I am. Having been part of the staff for the past 28 years and with Arthur through his entire ownership, I’ve seen the passion of our fans and importance of the franchise to this City and State firsthand. I’m excited to help carry on Arthur’s mission to deliver a championship-caliber team, an organization our community is very proud of on and off the field, as well a sustainable business that has the necessary resources to compete at the highest level and continue positively impacting the community in a number of ways.”

Blank on Beadles – “The institutional knowledge, expertise and integrity Greg brings to the table is nearly impossible to replicate and that has made him so valuable to the organization and to me for multiple decades. The credibility he has across our organization, with the NFL, and front office executives around the league is immeasurable and positions him very well to take on this new and very important role with the Atlanta Falcons. He has my complete confidence and trust.”

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