It seems that for forever and a day there has been talk of someone being appointed to replace F1’s 81 year-old boss Bernie Ecclestone. This talk reached fever pitch at the end of 2010 when it came to light that David Campbell, former boss of London’s O2 arena, was taking over as managing director of Allsport Management, F1’s trackside advertising, sponsorship and corporate hospitality division. He replaced Allsport’s founder Paddy McNally causing some media outlets to proclaim that “it’s far from inconceivable that Campbell would be a contender to replace Ecclestone.” Oh, how wrong could they be.
A report in today’s Independent by Pitpass’ business editor Christian Sylt reveals that Campbell has stepped down after just one year in the job. A senior source at CVC, the private equity firm which majority owns F1, told Sylt that Campbell “has left. It didn’t really work out. Bernie wanted to take the business in a different way and that wasn’t the basis on which we hired David. His departure was by mutual agreement.”
Campbell is a seasoned veteran of the entertainment industry. He turned the O2 Arena into the world’s most popular music venue and was chief executive and president of its parent company AEG Europe. Prior to that he worked for Richard Branson’s Virgin group for 11 years where he rose to become boss of Virgin Radio and masterminded the sale of the station for £225 million to Scottish broadcaster SMG.
Campbell started working for Allsport at the end of March last year and was based between F1’s headquarters in London and Allsport’s offices in Geneva. Campbell declined to comment but the confirmation from CVC said it all. It leaves somewhat of a vacuum in F1 which Pitpass will analyse separately as it is an important subject in its own right. More to come soon.