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EXCLUSIVE: O’Connor steps down as US boss of Lagardère Unlimited

Kevin O’Connor has stepped down from his role as Lagardère Unlimited’s chief operating officer in the United States and South America with immediate effect.

The company told TV Sports Markets today that O’Connor had “accepted Arnaud Lagardère’s official offer to expand his relationship with the company and assume the role of Mr. Lagardère’s senior adviser. Kevin will transition into his new global position over the next couple of month. Lagardère will work with Mr. O’Connor to name his successor in due course.”

Arnaud Lagardère is the general and managing partner of parent company Lagardère, the media, publishing and defence conglomerate.

O’Connor became one of the sports marketing company’s three most senior managers in a management reshuffle in June 2011, following the departures of former senior executives Olivier Guiguet and Stéphane Schindler, who later formed the CAA Eleven agency.

He worked alongside Alain Lemarchand, the chief operating officer for Europe and Africa, and Seamus O’Brien, the chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

O’Connor’s background is in athlete development and representation. He joined Lagardère Unlimited in May 2011 when the company took a 30-per-cent stake in the Saddlebrook sports academy, where he negotiated training programmes and services for professional tennis players. Before joining Saddlebrook, O’Connor was the executive director of tennis for the Anschutz Entertainment Group.

His strategic objective at Lagardère Unlimited was to broaden the agency’s talent representation roster, particularly in golf and baseball following the acquisition of Gaylord Sports Management in early 2012.

Lagardère Unlimited has highlighted athlete representation as one of its key activities in the future, following heavy losses in sports media-rights sales. Lagardère Unlimited owns the Sportfive, IEC in Sports and World Sport Group agencies.