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  • Exclusive -- New Rio 2016 Marketing Chief Resigns


    Flavio Pestana is out at Rio 2016
    (ATR) A month after he was hired, the marketing chief for the Rio De Janeiro Olympics resigns, Around the Rings has learned.

    Rio 2016 communications chief Carlos Villanova tells ATR that chief commercial officer Flavio Pestana quit Feb. 14.

    Villanova says Pestana resigned for “personal reasons”.

    Pestana was hired last month along with other marketing executives to replace a team gutted last October when Maggie Sanchez was fired along with her deputies. ATR is told that Sanchez, a U.S. exec who once worked for Microsoft, was sacked over a difference in philosophy with Rio 2016 leadership as well as Brazilian sponsors.

    Pestana was hired with some acclaim as a Brazilian marketing exec who could work with the Brazilian firms who will make up the national sponsorship program.

    At the time, Rio 2016 president Carlos Nuzman expressed confidence in Pestana and the new team.

    “Hiring a professional of the highest caliber such as Flavio Pestana and the other new members of the commercial department ensures the confidence and reliability we need to conduct such a record-breaking sponsorship program and develop new revenue generating programs for staging memorable Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016,” said Nuzman in a statement.

    Pestana was CEO of Brazil’s biggest business newspaper company at the time he went to work for Rio 2016. The company publishes Gazeta Mercantil and Valor Economico, the Diario de Sao Paulo newspaper as well as the Bom Dia Communication Network.

    His sudden departure is certain to raise a red flag about the marketing program for Rio 2016, despite significant deals that have been struck for banking, insurance, telecom and autos.

    There was no immediate comment from the IOC to Pestana's resignation.

    Villanova says the team that came aboard in January remains on the job.

    “The rest of the team is in place. The only person missing is the boss,” said Villanova.  He says Rio 2016 CEO Leonardo Gryner will head the marketing team until a new chief commercial officer is selected.

    Along with Pestana, others hired in January included sponsorship sales director Rodrigo Frazao, partner services director Henrique Leal and head of licensing, retail and concessions Sylmara Multini.

    Pestana’s resignation coincided with a Rio 2016 licensing workshop this week. His name was conspicuously absent from a press release about the workshop.

    Written by Ann Cantrell .

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