Gene Sykes Voted Board Chair Elect of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced that Gene Sykes has been elected to serve as the next chair of the USOPC Board of Directors, succeeding current chair Susanne Lyons whose term ends Dec. 31, 2022.
The vote took place during a special session of the USOPC board. At this session, nominated candidates each received time to promote their candidacy. Once the candidates recused themselves from the meeting, the Board members held an open discussion and then voted by secret ballot distributed, retrieved, and tallied by an independent election proctor. Internal candidates were permitted to vote. Sykes will be eligible for reelection to a second term in 2026.
“I offer my congratulations and a warm welcome to Gene on being selected as our next board chair,” said USOPC CEO, Sarah Hirshland. “This role requires the ability for us to not only work together as partners but to also bring together the viewpoints of our diverse board and sports ecosystem, and to help set a course for the organization to serve against its mission of holistically supporting athletes, and growing participation in, and prominence of, Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United States.”
Sykes currently serves as the co-chairman of Global Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and co-chairman of the Global Technology, Media and Telecom Group at Goldman Sachs & Co. Sykes took a leave from the investment firm in 2015 to join the Los Angeles bid committee as CEO and oversee the successful bid campaign that ended in 2017 with the International Olympic Committee awarding the 2028 Games to Los Angeles. He stepped down from the CEO role in December of 2018.
“I am pleased to accept this role and thankful for the confidence placed in me by the board and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community,” said Sykes. “I look forward to working with Sarah, the USOPC staff, our great NGB partners and all who support the Olympic and Paralympic movements. I am inspired by the opportunity in front of me and am grateful to Susanne for leaving the organization so well positioned to achieve holistic success – on and off the field of play – as Team USA marches toward Paris 2024, Milan-Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028.
Lyons was appointed to the role of board chair in January of 2019 after serving as interim USOPC CEO from March 2018 to August 2018, and following her tenure as an independent USOPC board member that started in 2010.
She leaves the board after overseeing a transitional period that included significant governance changes, a rededication to athlete mental and physical wellness, and establishing a greater organizational focus on athlete safety and high-performance success during two Covid-impacted Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Serving on this board, as an independent director and then as chair, has been the privilege of a lifetime,” said Lyons. “I am grateful to have had the chance to serve our athletes, to serve the NGBs, and to work passionately in service to the Olympic and Paralympic movements – which I truly love. I will forever remain Team USA’s biggest supporter and fan.”
Lyons will remain active as board chair through 2022, ensuring continuity against established board priorities for the year, and assisting board chair-elect Sykes in anticipation of him assuming the role in 2023.
“The USOPC and our community owe Susanne an enormous amount of gratitude for her leadership during the best and most trying of times,” said Hirshland. “Whenever needed, and in any capacity, Susanne rose to the challenge – and as a colleague and partner in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, I can’t thank her enough for her strong leadership, gentle guidance, incredible compassion and true friendship throughout her tenure.”
Headshots available to download here.
Gene Sykes Biography:
Gene Sykes serves as the co-chairman of Global Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and co-chairman of the Global Technology, Media and Telecom Group at Goldman Sachs & Co. He joined Goldman in 1984 and became a partner in 1992.
Sykes took a leave from the investment firm in 2015 to join the L.A. bid committee as CEO and oversee a lengthy and successful bid campaign that ended in 2017 with the International Olympic Committee awarding the 2028 Games to Los Angeles.
He stepped down from the CEO role in December of 2018.
In addition to a board position at LA28, Sykes serves as chairman for the Alliance for Southern California Innovation, and on the board of the Pacific Council on International Policy and Common Sense Media. He previously chaired the California board of trustees of The Nature Conservancy and the National Parks Conservation Association. He also has served on the board of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Sykes is a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees and a member of the Advisory Council of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He earned an MBA from Stanford University in 1984 and bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University in 1980.
Full Chair selection process procedure and guidelines available upon request.