NBC Sports hires key executive
Mark Lazarus has bolstered his executive team at NBC Sports Group, hiring former ESPN executive Rob Simmelkjaer at SVP of NBC Sports Ventures, a unit that comprises NBC-owned businesses like the Alliance of Action Sports, the American Century Golf Championship, the ADT Golf Skills Challenge, the Heads Up Poker Championship and the National Dog Show.
Simmelkjaer also will lead international business development at the sports group — drawing on his experience managing ESPN/Disney’s Olympics relationship as ESPN’s VP International Development and Corporate Projects — and he will also oversee its stake in Universal Sports.
He reports to Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics and EVP Strategic Partnerships at NBC Sports Group. Meanwhile, Lazarus also promoted Earl Marshall to CFO; he had been CFO of the NBC Sports Cable Group. He will have oversight of the NBC Sports Group consisting of NBC Sports, Olympics, Versus (which has the NHL, IndyCar and Tour de France), Golf Channel, the 11 regional sports networks and digital assets and report to Lazarus. Deadline.com
Recent ABC press release
Rob Simmelkjaer rejoined ESPN in August 2007 as vice president, corporate projects. In this role, Simmelkjaer is responsible for developing new business relationships, both in the United States and globally.
Simmelkjaer returned to ESPN following a two-year stint as an anchor/correspondent for ABC News Now and ABC Newsone. He anchored ABC News Now’s live coverage and news briefs, and hosted several original programs, including "Inside the Newsroom" and "Guilt or Innocence." He also reported from the field for ABC Newsone on a diverse range of stories, including the Manhattan plane crash involving New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and the funeral of President Gerald R. Ford.
During this time Simmelkjaer also worked as a sideline reporter and play-by-play announcer for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Regional Television. He contributed to ESPN’s coverage of college football, basketball, lacrosse and baseball, including the 2007 College World Series and Women’s Soccer Championship and the 2006 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship. He will continue as on on-air contributor at ESPN in addition to his new executive role.
A five-year veteran of ESPN, Simmelkjaer previously held the position of vice president, assistant to the president (2003 to 2005). In this position, he assisted George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, in key decision-making related to management and strategic direction, and played a significant role in negotiations and developing business relationships between ESPN and major sports leagues. He had served as a director, programming and acquisitions (2002 to 2003), where he was the primary figure responsible for the launch of a six-year programming agreement between ESPN/ABC Sports and the National Basketball Association.
Prior to his tenure at ESPN, Simmelkjaer practiced law at two New York firms -- Weil, Gotshal and Manges (2000 to 2001), and Cravath, Swaine & Moore (1997 to 2000).
Simmelkjaer is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. He is a native of Haworth, N.J, and currently lives in New York.