Texas-based sports marketing firm Learfield IMG College is bidding farewell to its longtime CEO Greg Brown. As Brown prepares to retire from his post, company newcomer Cole Gahagan has been announced as his successor.

Gahagan joined the Learfield team at the start of this year as the president of content, revenue and enterprise solutions. Meanwhile, after 36 years with the company and serving 11 years as CEO, Brown is moving on earlier than expected amid the current pandemic that has temporarily shut down sports.

“It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to be associated with the great people of this company and the collegiate sports industry for the past 36 years,” Brown said in a statement obtained by the Dallas Morning News. “When Cole joined us in January, I had in my mind transitioning to this new role later in 2020. But with college sports on virtual hold, this lull is an ideal time for the company leadership to transition now.”

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Gahagan enters the role with an impressive career resume. Prior to joining Learfield IMG College, he previously served as chief commercial officer of Fanatics Inc., chief revenue officer at Ticketmaster and senior vice president of business development and strategy for industry giant Live Nation.

“Over the last several years, we have evolved from serving as an asset creation and sales company to a fully integrated media and tech leader — and we’re only getting started,” he said of Learfield’s outlook going forward.

The firm as a whole is saluting Brown for his decades of service while welcoming Gahagan into the role.

“For more than 36 years, you’ve put your heart and soul into our company and the people we’re called to serve. You’ve shown us how to be better tomorrow than we were today. We’re grateful for your vision and leadership. Thank you, Greg,” reads a company statement addressed to the departing CEO.

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