ATLANTA – Jan. 9, 2023 – Owner and Chairman of the Blank family of companies, Arthur M. Blank, today announced the promotions of five senior executives to new roles and responsibilities within the Arthur M. Blank Sports portfolio and Entertainment (AMBSE). AMBSE includes the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, Atlanta United of Major League Soccer, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.
Steve Canoncurrently CEO of AMBSE, was appointed Vice President of AMBSE. Rich McKay was named CEO of AMBSE and will continue in his role as CEO of the Atlanta Falcons. Greg Beadles was elevated to president of the Atlanta Falcons and assumed day-to-day management of all franchise business functions. Revenue Director AMBSE Tim Zulawski has been elevated to Chairman of AMBSE and the search for a new Chief Commercial Officer to oversee sponsorship will begin shortly. Dietmar Exler was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and continues as CEO of the Arthur M. Blank family office.
“I have always believed that continuity of leadership and thoughtful succession planning are hallmarks of great organizations and we intended to develop an exceptional and thorough group of seasoned executives to lead our businesses into the future” , said Blank. “These new roles reflect how each of these leaders embodies our core values and their outstanding performance over the years. I am 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 that they will continue to lead our businesses with a focus on our fans, customers, guests and associates at the highest level, while continuing to foster a culture that is representative of our values.”
These five leaders have a combined 78 years of experience in the organization of Blank – Cannon (seven years), McKay (19 years), Beadles (28 years), Zulawski (20 years) and Exler (four years) and three of them they (Cannon, McKay and Exler) have previous CEO experience.
In late 2022, Blank announced C-suite promotions within his PGA TOUR Superstore (PGATSS) business with CEO Dick Sullivan adding functions of Executive Chairman and Jill Spiegel to be promoted to President of PGATSS. Sullivan will continue to report directly to Blank.
Rich McKay has been with the organization for 19 years, joining as the Falcons’ general manager in 2004, then named the team’s president and CEO in 2011. He leads the influential NFL Competition Committee as President since 2011; served as co-chair from 1998 to 2011; and joined the committee in 1994. During this time, McKay was instrumental in developing the NFL’s on-field product to the unparalleled success it is today.
As the team’s president and CEO for the past several years, McKay has overseen numerous upgrades and expansions at the team’s Flowery Branch, GA, complex, including a state-of-the-art Emory Orthopedic Center technology attached to the team’s indoor training center and a primary building expansion that is the new home of Ticketmaster studios. He also led the search process that resulted 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 – Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta – which opened its doors in 2017. McKay was the resource person in negotiating, developing and building MBS, a process that began in 2008. McKay was also instrumental in helping Blank develop the early plans for the foray of the organization in Major League Soccer with Atlanta United in 2017, as well as being part of what would become Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment, the umbrella organization for the Falcons, Atlanta United and MBS.
As CEO of AMBSE, McKay will continue to report to AMBSE Vice President Steve Cannon for this part of his oversight role. New Falcons President Greg Beadles and AMBSE President Tim Zulawski, as well as AMBSE Shared Services leaders, will all report to McKay. Reporting directly to Blank in his role as CEO of the Falcons, McKay will provide 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. Son of legendary trainer John McKay, Rich McKay and his wife, Terrin, are the parents of two adult sons, John and Hunter. John is a professional personnel manager with the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL, and Hunter works in the athletic department at Kennesaw State University in metro Atlanta.
“Rich’s deep understanding of the NFL; his intimate knowledge of the rest of our business in the sports and entertainment portfolio; along with the trust he and I have developed together over nearly two decades, uniquely qualifies him to take on this complex dual role at such an important time,” Blank said. “He is a champion of our core values and the culture we want in our organization and it gives me great confidence in him to take on these critical roles at the future.”
Having started with the Atlanta Falcons as an intern after earning a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree from Georgia State University, Beadles is entering his 29th year with the club named team president. During his nearly three decades with the organization, Beadles 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 family. Smith to Arthur M. Blank in 2001. Known as an expert in team and facilities operations and finance, Beadles built a unique trust between his peers, colleagues and Blank himself through his acumen finance, business acumen, versatility and personal values.
Twice CFO of the Year (Atlanta Business Chronicle), Beadles provided leadership for AMBSE in the areas of business strategy, finance, technology, facility development and operations, and data and analytics. Working closely with Rich McKay, Beadles played a leading role in all aspects of the development, financing, design and construction of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Since opening MBS in 2017, Beadles has led several functions that have enabled MBS to fulfill Blank’s vision as a premier fan experience venue for sporting, entertainment and private events. He was also instrumental in the organization’s acquisition of an MLS expansion team that would become Atlanta United and in the design and development of AMBSE into one of the premier multi-sports and entertainment companies. -properties. Outside of his professional roles, Beadles is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees; is co-founder of the Board of Trustees of Oak Hill Classical School in Dacula, Georgia, and the Arete Scholars Fund, a nonprofit organization that has awarded scholarships to 15,000 low-income children. income since 2010.
As President of the Atlanta Falcons, Beadles will report to Rich McKay and assume 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 services. Beadles’ father spent more than 50 years as a basketball coach and athletic director, mostly in Georgia. His career, his passion for the state and his ties to the Falcons are therefore deeply rooted. Beadles, his wife Jill, and their children (Ella, Grant, Evie, and Hudson) reside in the Atlanta metro area.
“I grew up wearing Steve Bartkowski’s jersey and red helmet in my backyard as a kid in Georgia, so my love for the Falcons is part of who I am,” Beadles said. “Having been on staff for the past 28 years and with Arthur throughout his ownership, I have seen the passion of our fans and the importance of the franchise to this city and this state first hand. I am delighted to help continue Arthur’s mission of providing a championship-caliber team, an organization that our community is very proud of on and off the pitch, and a sustainable business that has the resources to compete at the highest level and continue to positively impact the community in many ways.”
“The institutional knowledge, expertise and integrity that Greg brings to the table is nearly impossible to replicate and that has made him so valuable to the organization and to me for several decades,” Blank said. “The credibility he has in our organization, with the NFL and with league front office leaders is immeasurable and positions him very well to take on this very important new role with the Atlanta Falcons. He has my full confidence. .”