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DATE News (chronologically)
11/13/09
track news
irl
More layoffs at IMS and IRL  Another 10 people in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway organization lost their jobs Thursday as the downsizing continued amid a stressed financial situation.

The cuts were shared between the Indy Racing League and IMS Productions, raising the week's total to about 25 people.

A statement released by the company linked the layoffs to "a tough global economy," but it's clear the new IMS regime, led by Jeff Belskus, is heeding the call to become more efficient.

That process started last winter when then-president Joie Chitwood organized the closing and razing of the Brickyard Crossing Inn, which was used sparingly when the track was inactive. Additional adjustments are expected next week as aspects of the business are outsourced.

"All of our business units have been impacted by the tough global economy," Fred Nation, executive vice president of communications, said in the release. "We will continue to address these challenges by improving the operational performance of our companies."

At its height, IMS Corp. employed more than 400 people, with nearly 300 at the Speedway. Today, about 250 remain at the track, including the golf course and food and beverage division, and about 100 at the IRL and IMS Productions.

Most of those released this week worked behind the scenes, including four members of the Speedway's online staff. Among the notable staff members cut were Ron Green, the director of public relations since 2002, and Gloria Novotney, the director of business affairs whose employment dates to the late 1970s.

The emphasis on efficiency appears to have taken on a greater significance in the past six months, and it's believed to be at the heart of Tony George's removal from several key leadership positions. Neither George nor his sisters, who comprised half of the board of directors, have commented on the reasons for his June 30 departure.

Belskus, the company's longtime financial officer, said last week when Izod was introduced as title sponsor of the IndyCar Series that changes are necessary. He suggested the company grew out of luxury rather than necessity, and today's economic climate necessitates efficiency.

Belskus confirmed a decrease in revenue for NASCAR's Brickyard 400, and it was clear the MotoGP crowd was lower in the second year of that event. When income slows, spending must adjust with it, he said.

"We've still got some work to do (financially), but we'll get there," he said. "The question is, how fast do we want to get there?" More at Indy Star

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