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Posted 27 Feb 2001   For week ended February 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 16Feb01

By Mark Wright

Move Over Romney: Canadian Mormon Bullock Helped Save Olympics

SALT LAKE CITY -- Just over two years ago, the Salt Lake City Olympic bribery scandal was in full flame, threatening the future of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Fast forward to today, and the picture is much rosier. Sponsors are lining up, ticket sales are brisk and the aura of optimism about the Games seems to be growing every day. While all of the reasons aren't obvious, it's clear that two Mormon boys have done a pretty good job of breathing life into the 2002 Games. One of these Mormons, Mitt Romney, is well-known and has been in the news a lot since he was officially appointed C.E.O. of the Organizing Committee on February 11, 1999. It seems that Fraser Bullock, the other member of the turn-around team, is still somewhat of an unknown. That's about to change.

As the Salt Lake City Olympic effort transitions from an organizational mode to operational activities, Bullock will undoubtedly move forward into the limelight. Bullock, who was born in Taber, a predominantly Mormon community in southern Alberta and raised in Calgary, is presently serving as the chief operating officer and the chief financial officer of the SLOC. Bullock attended Brigham Young University and graduated with an MBA before taking a series of jobs in the financial community. As COO, Bullock will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 2002 Games.

Bullock was convinced to join the SLOC by Romney shortly after Romney took over the SLOC's scandal-plagued effort to land the 2002 Olympics. Bullock's task was challenging, to say the least. At the time he took over, he inherited a fund-raising nightmare where critical corporate sponsors where running in the other direction, distancing themselves from the bad publicity. In addition, the financial estimates for the 2002 Games showed a projected deficit of more than $400 million. Today, with just about one year to go, it seems that Mitt Romney picked the right guy for the job. Bullock has helped Romney bring respectability to the SLOC Olympic effort and, through Bullock's efforts as CFO, the latest financial estimates show that the Games should at least break even.

A short review of Bullock's background can help to illustrate how he's been able to accomplish what he has. Bullock, who has a strong background in financial management, has prior experience in making something out of nothing. Back in the 1980s, he served as CFO of troubled World Airways Inc. When he first joined World, he found a consistent money-loser that was 90 days away from insolvency. Soon, under Bullock's financial leadership, World secured $100 million in new financing and returned to its roots as a profitable contract carrier and cargo airline. After Bullock took the CFO's reins, World turned a profit three years running. It was, he says, the same kind of financial makeover the Salt Lake City Games needed.

Bullock has accomplished his minor miracle in the most practical way possible; he started by instituting a series of cuts that were both large and small. For example, he cut labor costs by $27 million when he eliminated a number of staff positions. He even found some room to make cuts at the top when he asked the members of the SLOC board pay for their own lunch during board meetings. On the revenue side, Bullock has successfully added more than $200 million in new sponsorships to the bottom line. All in all, a most impressive accomplishment. However, Bullock knows that there is still a lot of work to be done and plans additional efforts to improve the bottom line. The progress made to date gives Bullock the feeling that, one year from now, the memories of the scandal will have been replaced by images of a winter Olympics where the athletes are all that really matters.

Let the Games begin.


Bullock to the rescue!
Edmonton AB Canada Sun 8Feb01 S2
By Terry Jones: Edmonton Sun
It took a guy from Taber to clean up Salt Lake City


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