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Three Deloitte alumni share the stories behind their careers in sports.
“Our strong connection with alumni is about much more than a nostalgic look at the past,” says Lee Fazzi, a director in Alumni Relations. “We want to realize the power of our alumni network and embody the ‘Colleagues for Life’ concept by supporting the professional lives of our people and alumni. Once you’ve been a part of Deloitte, you stay a member of our family – even if you move on to somewhere else.”
Deloitte alumni have gone on to achieve success in nearly every aspect of the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. Jim Hausmann, Michael Kent, and Steve Richard are among those who crafted a career in the professional sports world – not as athletes, but as key players in building strong organizations.
Chief Administrative Officer (Retired)
New England Patriots, New England Revolution, and Gillette Stadium
Jim Hausmann knows a lot about success. When he retired in January 2011 as the chief administrative officer of the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution, and Gillette Stadium, he’d been part of a Patriots organization that captured 10 division titles, five conference titles, and three Super Bowl championships.
Hausmann also knows that success is earned – and he knows that accountability and excellence don’t take time-outs. It’s knowledge that the native Midwesterner grasped from his first days as an Audit professional with Haskins & Sells – one of Deloitte’s predecessor firms -- after joining the organization in June 1970.
“I went to Haskins & Sells’ St. Louis office right out of college, and one of the things that attracted me was the caliber of the people I met,” he says. “I also liked the size of the office, the client base, and the diverse opportunities.” Hausmann worked for Haskins & Sells from 1970 through 1984. He earned his CPA in 1973 and served as chief financial officer of a regional stock brokerage firm in St. Louis from 1985 to 1989. He rejoined Deloitte in 1990 and remained until 1992.
“My years with Haskins & Sells are significant for several reasons,” says Hausmann. “I learned the organizational, supervisory, and administrative skills in my various audit roles that I carried with me throughout my career. I also recognized the importance of building strong relationships through my interactions with many quality partners and managers along the way.”
Hausmann had always been a great sports fan, but he’d never given much thought to pursuing a career in that arena simply because there were so few openings. That changed in 1992. “I met Jim Orthwein in 1985; he was an investor with the stock brokerage firm where I worked,” says Hausmann. “In 1992, he purchased the Patriots and asked me to join him in Foxboro, MA, as vice president and chief financial officer to learn the football business. I was then going to return to St. Louis to assist in establishing the new National Football League franchise that most people at the time assumed would be awarded to St. Louis.”
As it turned out, Orthwein sold the Patriots to the Kraft family in 1994 and St. Louis lost its bid for a new franchise. The Krafts wanted Hausmann to remain in his job, so he settled in to his New England surroundings. “I was in the right place at the right time and had the right skills,” he says. “I was fortunate that the Kraft family opted to keep me on board, but I’m a believer that there is no substitute for doing a good job.”
In addition to the Patriots’ on-field successes (which Hausmann watched closely; he missed only one game during his career), under Hausmann’s guidance the organization financed and constructed Gillette Stadium, which opened in 2002; created Patriot Place, an open air shopping complex adjacent to the stadium, in 2007; and managed all the related operations such as concessions, parking, and security.
“In our organization, the pursuit of excellence was never confined to the athletic field,” says Hausmann. “Whether it was an event day or a day during the off-season, we adopted a winning attitude and a customer service approach in everything we did.”
Hausmann links that success to what he learned in his early years as a professional at Haskins & Sells. “We worked together as a team,” he says. “Throughout my career, the development and quality of my staff was the most rewarding aspect of my work. Working together to achieve our goals – that’s being successful.”
Vice President of Finance
As an accounting major at Villanova University, Michael Kent had interned for two summers in the finance department of the American Stock Exchange where he met a number of Haskins & Sells alumni. “I was impressed with them and I knew that it was the firm for me,” he says. He joined Deloitte Haskins & Sells in 1979 in the Long Island office as part of the Audit practice. After his first year, he moved into the small business services practice where he was involved in tax work, reviews, and compilations – a wider variety of tasks at smaller clients that gave him broad-based accounting experience.
As much as he enjoyed his work at Deloitte Haskins & Sells, Kent had always envisioned himself working in baseball, and in 1981 he traveled to Hollywood, FL, to attend Major League Baseball’s Winter Meeting in the hope of securing a job. Having met with little success, on his final day in Florida he decided to spend some time sightseeing in nearby Miami. When the doors of his hotel elevator opened, so did the door to Michael Kent’s dream of working in baseball. He found himself alone in the elevator with Bill Giles, then the executive vice president of the Philadelphia Phillies; Kent introduced himself and wasted no time in giving Giles some personal background information and a quick pitch for his services.
“I must have done a decent job, because Mr. Giles told me to mail him my résumé,” says Kent. “What I didn’t realize at the time was that he had just purchased the Phillies franchise and was getting league approval that very day.”
Kent followed up and a month later was invited for an interview. He met the Phillies new vice president of finance and was offered a job on the spot. “He liked my résumé and as he himself was a former partner of a Big Eight accounting firm he understood my background,” says Kent. “I became the Phillies new assistant treasurer.”
In addition to learning the baseball business, Kent learned about personal values and the central role family plays in building a career. Over the years Kent has watched his mentors make time for family activities and foster a work environment of trust and integrity. “Anywhere you go in your career you should pursue opportunities because of the caliber of the people you’ll be working with and for and seek out places where your values and beliefs are shared,” he says.
Kent felt at home with the Phillies, and was promoted to controller in 1986, but he dreamed of one day managing his own finance team. In 1991 he was presented with just such an opportunity, when the newly organized Colorado Rockies hired him as their vice president of finance. He was working with an expansion franchise and faced with the task of building a finance organization from the ground up.
And he’s still at it. “My time at Deloitte Haskins & Sells set it all in motion for me,” says Kent. “Because so much of the work then was manually intensive, you really needed strong organization and preparation skills. Today, that’s my hallmark and what’s behind my grasp of numbers, departments, cost centers, and even my understanding of personal relationships.”
Kent and his team of six have a “roll up your sleeves and get the work done” attitude. The team’s budgeting process begins in July and runs through December and there are daily tasks of financial reporting, internal controls, property and casualty insurance, benefits, tax issues, and cash management. “We assist the owners and the various departments by providing sound and timely financial information that helps them do their jobs,” says Kent. “Whether it’s the general manager, the farm director, or the ticket director, if we assist them effectively, then our mission is met.”
Chief Financial Officer
Growing up in East Orange, NJ, Steve Richard’s dream was to become a professional hockey player. While accounting seemed to come naturally to him, in his mind, pursuing a career in that direction was always a good Plan B. In fact, Plan B propelled Richard to his center court position as the chief financial officer of NBA China.
From his office in Beijing, Richard oversees cash and treasury management, all aspects of financial accounting, tax compliance and reporting, performance reporting, and organization-wide business planning. “Basketball is enormously popular in China,” says Richard. “There’s a huge fan base here for the NBA. This has been the most amazing experience of my professional career and of my life.”
Richard’s journey to the NBA actually began when he joined Deloitte in 1985 as a graduate of Northeastern University. He spent nearly a decade with the organization, serving clients in the Audit practice’s New York office.
Working with clients of various sizes and across industries, Richard believes that his exposure to these different experiences was helpful in deepening his understanding of the many nuances encountered in public accounting. “Professional services is a great choice for starting a career because you are given significant responsibility at an early stage and you have the opportunity to learn at an accelerated pace,” he says.
Richard points to two basic skills he developed at Deloitte that have served him well throughout his career. “Attention to detail is one of my most important assets, since so much of what we do in the NBA is based on complex models with material financial implications,” says Richard. “And because everything needs a definitive end, time management is another skill that I’ve continued to hone since Deloitte. All my projects have a well-defined end point.”
After he left Deloitte, Richard went to work for AT&T, where among his many responsibilities he was a key member of the team responsible for carving out Lucent Technologies from its parent company. He then moved on to Citibank, N.A., where he served as vice president and regional director in Citibank’s Corporate Audit Group.
The NBA offered him the position of vice president of financial planning and analysis in 1998. He later was promoted to senior vice president of finance. “Recruiting and developing my team was the most rewarding experience of my career to that point,” he says. “Our collective success was responsible for my opportunity to become the CFO of NBA China in August 2010.”
With Richard barely settled in Beijing, the CEO of NBA China resigned and Richard found himself as the interim CEO in addition to his duties as CFO. “It was rewarding to be considered for the role,” says Richard. “It was a hectic year full of travel, but the opportunity allowed me to use my operational skills directly, not just in an advisory capacity. The experience also gave me an up-close look at how business gets done in China.”
The tremendous following for basketball in the country has meant growth for the NBA and a boon for business. Richard and his team stays focused on the details of a challenging tax regime and developing the most streamlined cash management strategies, which means none of the team spends much time on the bench.
“Making a difference is what motivates me every day,” says Richard. “I want our business performance and the processes which drive that performance to improve with each passing day. The world keeps changing and we have to find ways of keeping up with the issues and identifying the solutions that matter.”
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