IndyCar – PR VP John Griffin Resigns

John Griffin, Vice President of Public Relations for the Indy Racing League for the past seven years, announced his resignation from the league today effective on December 18th. Here’s the official release:

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“John has been a valued part of our organization and he will be missed,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League. “His creativity and passion for the sport brought publicity for the IZOD IndyCar Series to a whole new level. We wish him the best of luck.”

Griffin joined the Indy Racing League as vice president in 2002, overseeing all aspects of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights public and media relations program as well as strategic communication. During his tenure, Griffin developed and implemented public relations strategies for several historic events including the unification of open-wheel racing, Danica Patrick’s first win and the series IZOD entitlement announcement earlier this month.

“I appreciate my time here at the Indy Racing League where I have made many great friends and want to thank Terry (Angstadt) and Brian (Barnhart) for the opportunity,” said Griffin. “I really think the time is right for me to entertain a new challenge, particularly something that would allow me more quality time with my kids.”

What does this mean for the league as a whole? Quite honestly, I’m not sure what to read into this. The job is definitely a demanding one, requiring more travel than most PR gigs, so I can see Griffin wanting to move to a position that would offer him more family time. However, I can’t imaging that was the sole consideration. There’s been some serious personnel changes happening at the 16th and Georgetown, and I’m not convinced that this isn’t in some way related to those changes. Was Griffin given an option of resignation versus termination? I wouldn’t be surprised. …and before any of you say, “Why would they terminate someone who’s done a great job?” I’d remind you that they also released Chase Eaton, facilitator of the IndyCar Downforce Fan Club. As a die-hard capitalist, I’m all for cutting out the fat in a company, but I have to wonder if the IMS and IRL aren’t cutting into flesh as well.

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