Executive Stories

Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.

Executive Spotlight - December 18, 2001

Leo McCullagh


VP Retail Licensing/ Consumer Marketing, PGA TOUR


"'Twas the night Leo McCullagh before Christmas and all through the house...."

Ho, Ho, Ho! 'Tis the season of gift giving. I'm traveling just as much these days and every chance I have, I stop off at the PGA TOUR Shops at the airport. The leather bags with the gold stitched PGA TOUR logo are my favorites. I've often give them as gifts to my family and friends.

Speaking of gifts, going on my 15th year, I often pause to appreciate that I have the best job in the world. As an executive recruiter, I don't sell sponsorships or tickets. I give gifts of jobs. Wow. I call and ask people whether they want a new job, to make more money, to meet new people, and to create an impact with a new group of people. What a great job! It's like having "a sleigh full of toys!"

Many of the candidates we have recruited thought we gave them the best gift of their life. One stands out more prominently than the rest -- Leo McCullagh, the Vice President of Retail Licensing and Consumer Marketing for the PGA TOUR.

I knew the rosy cheeked, bespectacled, bushy, white-haired, Leo for years when I worked in women's tennis for Wilson Sporting Goods and then IMG. Leo worked for Philip Morris and they, under their Virginia Slims brand, were the sponsors of women's tennis. Virginia Slims' tag line, "You've come a long way, baby," became synonymous to women's tennis who for years had the pre-game show to men's tennis events. Now they had their own tour and own sponsor. And Leo, so lively and quick, was in charge of it. He also ran Marlboro racing and many other things.

Leo, who I'm sure grew up in the North Pole, had started his career in advertising and then joined the Philip Morris in Canada with the Benson & Hedges Company, moved to Hong Kong, Japan with Philip Morris Asia and then came back to their headquarters in New York to head up Event Marketing and Promotion. He was well-traveled. Leo loved golf and tried to play as many courses as possible with his wife (of now 29+ years), Penny. So when I called him in 1992 to ask whether he would be interested in a Vice President of Consumer Programs with the PGA TOUR, his eyes were bright, smile broad and I could hardly keep his enthusiasm contained. Ho, ho, ho. It's fun to have "a bundle of toys flung on my back."

Since being there for nearly 10 years, Leo has been as busy as an elf. Besides the wink in his eye, a very warm heart and jovial attitude, Leo's taken his extensive branding background and implemented very successful marketing programs for the TOUR including the PGA TOUR Partners program - a fan development program with over 500,000 members and the 3rd largest read magazine in golf. Instead of selling the logo to a bunch of companies as other sports leagues have done, the PGA TOUR picked one partner in each category and uses the licensees to present the PGA TOUR brand -- they had other people grow their brand. And it led to an integrated retail business comprised of e-commerce, bricks and mortar and catalog. In addition to their catalog, PGATOURSTOP.com, they have 36 PGA TOUR SHOPS in airports, who in turn buy and sell the PGA Tour licensed merchandise, 21 tournaments sell merchandise on-site and 22 TPC Clubs sell PGA TOUR merchandise. And finally, the PGA TOUR STOP, the 30,000 square foot store at the World Golf Village, boasts an unbelievable growth rate. The PGA TOUR's retail business is equivalent to the 7th or 8th largest retail golf business in the country. In light of the falling licensing business, the PGA TOUR continues to grow.

You know, I've heard Leo exclaim as he drives out of sight. "I love my work! ...And to all a good night!"

Sometimes, it's hard for me to tell who Santa Claus is, really! Ho, ho, ho!

- Buffy Filippell


"Leo gets the business and understands the people. Like Santa, Leo delivers!"

--Ina Broeman, Category Director of Marlboro Racing


What I do...

Leo is responsible for all retail, retail licensing and consumer marketing including affinity marketing and database management. He manages a department of 15.

HOW I GOT HERE...

PGA TOUR; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; 1992-present
Vice President Retail Licensing/Consumer Marketing
Vice President Consumer Programs

PHILIP MORRIS; New York, NY; 1978-1992
Director of Event Marketing & Promotion Development
Director of Brand Diversification
Director Marketing/Sales---Japan
Director Marketing Services & Area Director---Hong Kong
Group Product Director--- Benson & Hedges (Canada)

TAYLOR, MCCULLAGH, MURRAY; Montreal, Quebec; 1976-1978
Advertising Executive

COCKFIELD, BROWN, Inc.; Montreal, Quebec; 1971-1976
Account manager

TeamWork Innovators

Daryl Morey, General Manager, Houston Rockets

Daryl Morey brought some amazing talents to the sports industry. Upon graduating from Northwestern where he worked part-time while in school for Stats, Inc., before entering graduate school at MIT Daryl was hired as a Senior Knowledge Management Engineer and helped Mitre develop a computer program for NSA which could scan all the international videos and bring up clips of specific items - such as "Hussein" - and show just those clips across all international broadcasts. This technology was later developed for commercial use and marketed under the company, Virage. Mr. Morey wrote the code and algorithm. He could convert speech to text and frames and mark when a story started and ended on the video. Is it a surprise he has become the thought leader in advancing database analytics, algorithms and technology in the sports industry?

Learn more

Others Say

"Morey is the whiz-kid stats analyst who made news last month when he was hired from the Celtics, where he worked on the business side, to take over as (GM) Dawson's eventual replacement. With his background as a Bill James disciple, Morey's hiring was hailed as the NBA's first venture into "Moneyball."

- Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated