A high-profile former sports marketing executive with Nike and current Premier League soccer champion Manchester City was recently linked to a senior position with the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
Garry Cook, who was Chief Executive of Manchester City between 2008 and 2012, was in talks with Formula E Holdings Ltd. about a senior role to use his expertise in brand enhancement and sports marketing.
E-racing365 believes that Cook was targeted by Liberty Global and Discovery Communications which holds a minority share in Formula E.
An initial appointment date of late summer looked likely before the deal fell through last week.
Reasons for the about-turn remain unclear but e-racing365 has been told by a key source that Cook “has elected to stay based in the north-west of England for family reasons.”
The revelation comes just a few days after it was revealed current CEO Alejandro Agag is aiming to acquire full ownership of Formula E.
Rumours had circulated in recent weeks after a Formula E Holdings Ltd. board, which was held between the Rome and Paris E-Prixs, that Agag’s role could be modified at the end of the current season.
Parts of a letter were published by the Autosport and Motorsport.com websites on Friday alluding to Agag’s bid to take full control.
Cook is a well-known presence in sports marketing through his work in football and also the Ultimate Fighting Championship in recent years.
Cook made his name as the head of the “Brand Jordan” campaign in the 1990s which was centered around basketball legend Michael Jordan.
After almost a decade with Nike, Cook became CEO at Manchester City and oversaw the sale of the club to the Abu Dhabi United Group which was headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan for a reported £210 million.
Cook resigned from his post at Manchester City in 2011 after an incident involving disparaging comments he made over one of the players’ relatives.
After working for the UFC from 2012 to 2016, first as Managing Director and then as Chief Global Brand Officer, Cook has recently had a spell as a consultant and is also a non-executive director of Wigan Athletic soccer club.
E-racing365’s source also suggested that Liberty would still like to make a significant appointment to bolster and capitalize on Formula E’s growth in visibility over recent seasons.
“Some had said that they [Liberty] ultimately wanted to change Alejandro’s role in the future. It could well have been the recent Cook approach that part-triggered going public on the full control bid which he did last week,” said the source.
“It’s a big game of chess at the moment and everyone is wondering how they [Liberty] will react and if they will make a bold next move.”
Liberty Global plc and Discovery Communications acquired a one-third share in Formula E in April 2015.
While Formula E saw its revenues rise to €94.4 million in 2017, Agag is known to have sold off some shares to fellow Formula E investors for £5 million last December.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported this week that Formula E made a £18.6 million loss in the year to the end of July.