By Steve Ginsberg, San Francisco Business
October 27, 2002 -- The Bay Area
Sports Organizing Committee has signed a
team of high-powered CEOs to chair its corporate
council, a move that could translate into
a well-financed Olympic bid.
Topping the lineup are Carly Fiorina, CEO
of Hewlett-Packard Co.; Charles Schwab,
CEO of Charles Schwab Corp.; Carl Pascarella,
president of Visa USA; and Craig Sullivan,
president and CEO of Clorox Co. The four
executives will serve as co-chairs of the
Also agreeing to serve are Tony Ridder,
CEO of publisher Knight Ridder and Roger
Haughton, CEO of mortgage-insurer PMI Group
Ridder has pledged $1 million to BASOC's
potential international campaign to secure
the 2012 Games, while Haughton has pledged
$500,000. The half-million dollars would
be used to partially finance the building
of an Olympic Village at Moffett Field in
Mountain View, according to BASOCs Executive
Director Anne Cribbs.
Said Haughton, "Businesses should give
back to their communities and our contribution
to the BASOC is one way that we are doing
BASOC's growing roster includes its board,
which has more than 100 sports, community
and business leaders. Its corporate council
represents another group of roughly 100
companies that want to bring the Games to
the Bay Area.
Co-chairs of the corporate council are
not required to make a financial commitment,
and it's to unclear what their level of
support will be other than Ridder's and
Haughton's. BASOC organizers have also approached
Cisco Systems' John Chambers and Yahoo's
Jerry Yang to serve. The corporate council
will include former Secretary of State George
Schultz, who will serve as honorary chairman.
BASOC's CEO recruitment drive is an attempt
to marshal last-minute support to convince
the United States Olympic Committee to designate
San Francisco over New York on Nov. 2 as
its host city for the 2012 Summer Olympiad.
The CEOs would also be supporters if BASOC
gets to the next round, competing for the
International Olympic Committee's host-city
designee, which will be named in 2005.
BASOC will need between $10 million and
$15 million in new funding to compete for
the IOC's bid, and the organization is out
raising money already. The IOC wants to
be assured that the Bay Area will have the
financial muscle to pull off the games.
At this point, no money has been put aside
to stage the Olympics.
"Anne Cribbs has done a good job explaining
to Olympic officials that here in the Bay
Area we don't raise money 10 years ahead
of an event," said Tony Diamantidis, chairman
of the Athens Environmental Foundation and
owner of an Emeryville software company
Chemical Safety Corp. "By putting these
high-level CEO names into the mix now, it
sends a signal that the money will come
High tech on sidelines
The differences between New York and San
Francisco's bids are many, but among the
most glaring has been corporate support.
New York has been able to raise more than
$12 million, while BASOC has scraped up
only $4 million. New York's large financial
institutions have been generous supporters,
while the Bay Area's high-tech giants have
been less enthusiastic ‹ not surprising
considering the industry's stock and revenue
At least six New York companies have contributed
more than $500,000, including AOL Time Warner,
Merrill Lynch and JP MorganChase. Real estate
developer Lew Rudin's family has also spent
Meanwhile, BASOC's biggest supporters have
been Catholic Healthcare West and Providian
Financial, which have committed $500,000
each over two years.
Hewlett-Packard, Cadence Design Systems
and PeopleSoft have been among the few tech
companies to jump on BASOC's bandwagon as
founding contributors. Cadence has invested
the heaviest so far, with a two-year commitment
of $200,000. H-P and PeopleSoft signed on
for $100,000 over two years. With the formal
naming of Hewlett-Packard CEO Fiorina to
the corporate council expected on Monday,
Oct. 28, high tech's presence will increase
and at least yield the perception that Silicon
Valley is on BASOC's team.
"We got a late start and much of our bid
was done with grass-roots support," said
Cribbs. "Our corporate council co-chairs
now represent the technology companies in
the region and San Francisco. We want to
show the USOC that Northern California's
business community is supportive and wants
to work on the international bid. In the
international phase, corporate brand recognition
and support from the technology leaders
will be a real advantage for us, and we
want those relationships with these companies."
It will be up to each of the CEOs to determine
what their level of involvement will be.
There is no financial commitment of personal
or corporate contributions, Cribbs said.
There are no limits on the number of executives
to serve on the corporate council, and more
are likely to surface should San Francisco
triumph over New York on Nov. 2 in Colorado
Pascarella's involvement is key because
Visa is a major sponsor of the International
Olympic Committee and he could have weight
in the Olympic bid process that has become
more transparent after the Salt Lake City
scandals. Pascarella's endorsement of BASOC's
effort will send a message to IOC members
that big business backs the effort.
Sullivan's participation is important because
Clorox' East Bay roots give balance to BASOC's
CEO lineup, sources inside BASOC said. A
Charles Schwab spokesman said Schwab is
getting involved because winning the Olympics
would be good for the Bay Area economy.
At PMI, Haughton's interest is related
to business, but it's also personal.
"I have been very involved in coaching,
particularly with sports teams that my children
have participated on," he said. "The coach
of a youth sports team is able to build
character and teach the young players the
benefits of teamwork. These qualities are
the types of values that we seek in people
we hire in our business. The key role organized
athletics plays in instilling these values
in the young people who will be our country's
future work force, is a compelling reason
for my involvement and my company's in this
Steve Ginsberg covers sports business
for the San Francisco Business Times.