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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Enter The Turnaround Pro (UPDATED)

A lot is being made of the $125,000 per month salary that NYC OTB will pay to Greg Rayburn, its new president. It's the natural reaction I suppose to be disgusted/outraged/shocked considering that OTB is a bankrupt organization which is delaying certain payments to the racing industry, and which just recently cried that it was too broke to continue operations (not to mention still employing a prominent PR agency, an investment I might add which has gone mainly for naught if OTB's public image and perception means anything).

[UPDATE - The Times reports today, in its expose of OTB's outlandish and wasted expenditures on consultants under Sandy Frucher, that Edelman, the abovementioned PR firm, billed OTB for a total of $472,625; and that's just since last November. That was based on a rate of $300 an hour, which, according to David Vermillion, who led the agency's effort, was below their normal rate....and well spent.

“I would say that we have been very successful in executing the strategy outlined by the client, communicating complex concepts to diverse audiences and helping generate influential editorial support,” Mr. Vermillion said. [NY Times]
If I hadn't already dropped the f-bomb in this post (coming right up), Vermillion would certainly get it for that masterful effort in bullshit (oh well). Indeed, I'd like to see some examples of some of that "influential editorial support" other than that contained in OTB company newsletters and press releases. Vermillion, who, as I've mentioned before, also worked on behalf of the utterly defrocked Empire Racing during the franchise bidding, is obviously little more than a highly-paid lackey who apparently delights in defending and spinning the lies of corrupt and immoral corporate crud.]

But let's face it, this is a big fucking mess which requires drastic action. And bankruptcy is a big business, so a "turnaround pro," as Rayburn is labeled in the Wall Street Journal blog, comes at a price. He's hardly new to taking the reins of distressed companies on an interim basis. Here's an excerpt from an April, 2008 article about him doing so at the Syntax-Brillian Corporation.
Mr. Rayburn has held the position of Interim CEO and COO a number of times for companies such as Sunterra Corporation, aaiPharma and Muzak Holdings LLC, where he facilitated new strategic directions, streamlined operating structures, and improved product line profitability.

"Greg’s extensive experience in enhancing value within companies and improving operations to realize growth potential will greatly benefit the company,” said James Li, President and Chief Executive Officer, Syntax-Brillian Corporation. []
Since that time, Rayburn became the interim CEO at Magna, where his idea of enhancing value and improving operations was apparently to help keep Frank Stronach in control. If that's any indication, we might end up with Hazel Dukes.


Anonymous said...

Mark my words, he will be there for 4 months. Which is why he has a "monthly" salary. A slasher. Looking forward to it finally!

Figless said...

Everyone knows what needs to be done, why does it take a "turnaround pro" to do so?

Whoever approved hire him could have just as easily done the dirty work.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to get his perspective of the overall business picture of NY racing once he's done his work. Likely a smart enough guy,so I'd expect that over a cold beer, he'd have an opinion or two on the business of racing.
I think the LATG cub reporter should pencil in a phone call a few months after he's moved on.

jk said...

The last guy worked for free so maybe you get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

What a GD rip-off. The vulture lawyers have already been picking over the NYCOTB corpse. Get the OTB's under the NYRA wing now and stop all of this bleeding from the GD lawyers!

As for the turnaround specialist, ya gotta show me. I would vote for someone like, oh, Ben Liebman for the job, you know someone who has the experience and big picture perspective of NY racing and gaming law and knows his way around Albany and the NY racing industry.

I suppose Ben wouldn't want a dirty, grubby job like this. Too bad, he is to my knowledge the best qualified attorney who also has a genuine interest in NY racing. Or, am I wrong? /S/greenmtnpunter

jk said...

“As its largest creditor, the New York Racing Association, Inc. fully supports the appointment of Greg Rayburn as the new CEO of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation. His extensive experience of improving the operations of troubled companies across a range of industries gives us confidence that he will implement a viable plan of reorganization for NYC OTB that is mutually beneficial for the State of New York and the thoroughbred racing industry.”

Steve Zorn said...

Rayburn's last gig was in the Magna Entertainment bankruptcy. That one worked out well, as long as you're Frank Stronach. Minority shareholders, once again, got shafted, horsemen goit ignored, and Frank was left in control of too many tracks (i.e., more than 0).

Figless said...

To Rayburns credit he achieved Franks goals against all odds.

The question here is his true goal, who got him the gig?