| Oct 11, 2017
Billy Beane takes home the coveted Award at the Leaders Under 40 Awards

Last week, 3 October 2017, Leaders and Aspire Academy welcomed 450 established industry leaders to the Natural History Museum for the 2017 Leaders Under 40 Awards dinner. It was a night of celebration to recognise the most innovative, creative and talented leaders driving the sport business industry forward. On the night, all 42 members of the Class of 2017 were welcomed to the stage to collect their awards and Aspire Academy unveiled their 2017 Inspirational Leader; Billy Beane.


The Inspirational Leader Award, judged and presented by Aspire Academy, has been created to inspire the next generation of leaders in the world of sport. The award, previously received by Carlo Ancelotti, former Bayern Munich Head Coach and Herbert Hainer, former Adidas CEO, is presented annually to an individual who has led from the front and made an unparalleled impact on the sports industry across their career. This year, Aspire Academy honoured Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Oakland Athletics with the Inspirational Leader Award.


Beane played the game at the highest level and turned his experience on the field to revolutionise the trading, formation, stats and scouting across the entire game of baseball and sparked new thinking around the world on how other sports could follow.  So much so he was the subject of Michael Lewis’ 2003 book on baseball economics, Moneyball, which was made into a 2011 film starring Brad Pitt as Beane. The film detailed Beane’s struggle to shake up what was then conservative thinking holding the game back.  It took insight, intelligence, determination and courage to follow through on his beliefs, against all the odds, to transform the sport of baseball.


For more information or photographs of the evening please click here.


Inspirational Leader

Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Oakland Athletics


Leaders Under 40 Awards Class of 2017


Alexis Schaefer, Commercial & Marketing Director, International Paralympic Committee

Claire Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, Netball Scotland

Răzvan  Burleanu, President, Romanian Football Federation

Amy Starkey, Regional Director (East), The Jockey Club

Matthew Caldwell, Team President & Chief, Executive Officer, Florida Panthers

Kara Bachman, Executive Director, Chicago Sports Commission

Nzinga Shaw, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Atlanta Hawks & Philips Arena



Jayar Donlan, Executive Vice President, Digital & Social Content, WWE

Brandon Gayle, Head of Global Sports Partnerships, Instagram

Shaun. C Koiner, Chief Product Officer, Perform Media

Scott Kegley, Executive Director, Digital Media & Innovation, Minnesota Vikings

Mike Norrish, Head of Digital, BT Sport

Rob Bloom, Group Digital Director, McLaren

Chris Benyarko, Vice President, Product Strategy, National Basketball Association



James Rushton, Chief Executive Officer, DAZN

Jeffrey  Roth, Partner, Bruin Sports Capital

Nicholas Horbaczewski, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Drone Racing League

Michelle Walshe, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Augusto

Mark Locke, Chief Executive Officer, Genius Sports

Tobias Sherman, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, FOUNDRY IV

James Kirkham, Head of COPA90, COPA90


Marketing & Communications

Katherine Johnson, Vice President & Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing, Visa

Ben Hartman, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Octagon

Anthony DiCosmo, Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing & Content Development, Nickelodeon

Ashley Dabb, Chief Marketing Officer, National Lacrosse League

Umut Kutlu, Chief Marketing Officer, Beşiktaş JK

Lenah Ueltzen-Gabell, Executive Vice President EMEA, Wasserman

Zaileen Janmohamed, Senior Vice President, GMR Marketing


Legal & Governance

Sam Porter, Director of Legal & Business Affairs, DC United & Swansea City FC

Frank Saviano, Associate, Proskauer

Benoit   Pasquier, General Counsel & Director of Legal Affairs, Asian Football Confederation

Andrew Rogers, Head of Governance & Regulation, Premiership Rugby

Chris Lendrum, Head of Professional Rugby, New Zealand Rugby

Chris Anderson, Head of Legal Services, Everton Football Club

Jonathan Ellis, Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys



Jake Reid, President, Sporting Kansas City

Brent Stehlik, Executive, Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer, Cleveland Browns

Ian Warbrick, Director, Sponsorship Sales, TEAM Marketing AG

Michael Zavodsky, Executive Vice President, Global Partnerships, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment

Benjamin Deblicker, Head of Partnerships, Ligue de Football Professionnel

Jake Reynolds, Senior Vice President, Ticket Sales & Service, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center

Menno Geelen, Chief Commercial Officer, AFC Ajax

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