ATLANTA, Jan. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The world famous Harlem Globetrotters named Howard Smith team president today. Smith, who most recently served as senior vice president of content strategy for Herschend Enterprises, the Globetrotters' parent company, will take over leadership of the team from current CEO Kurt Schneider. Schneider announced he is stepping down following the 2016 North American tour in May, staying on board to ensure a seamless transition during the team's 90th anniversary season.
"Kurt has done an incredible job in his role with the Globetrotters, completely revitalizing the brand with record revenue, popularity and relevancy," said Andrew Wexler, CEO of Herschend Enterprises. "We are fortunate that Kurt has agreed to stay on through the end of the North American tour in order to help with the leadership transition, and equally fortunate to have a man with Howard's experience coming aboard to continue leading the growth of this iconic franchise going forward."
A leader in the media and television industry, Smith has 30 years of experience building global entertainment brands. Smith was the senior vice president of content strategy for Herschend Enterprises for the past two years and the driving force behind Herschend Enterprises' entry into TV and film-based entertainment and licensing. Before joining Herschend Enterprises, Smith was executive vice president of Nickelodeon recreation at Viacom, based in New York City, where he was the chief architect in creating an integrated live entertainment division and growing it into a global enterprise that entertained millions of guests annually. Prior to his time at Nickelodeon, Smith worked in London as director of network development for MTV Europe. He began his career at Turner Broadcasting Systems in Atlanta.
Schneider has been CEO of the Globetrotters since May 2007. Under his leadership, the Globetrotters have seen unprecedented record-setting years of profit and revenue. Schneider has revitalized the Globetrotters brand and unlocked its potential to where it is now a worldwide entertainment icon, producing all-time highs in live-event ticket sales, merchandise sales, content development and media impressions.
On the court, Schneider constantly innovated the Globetrotters' product, most notably he invented basketball's first-ever four point shot in 2010 (35 feet from the basket) that has become a popular staple in every Globetrotters game. He has also led the charge in producing and disseminating Globetrotter content outside of the live show, pushing the brand onto new platforms, building a best-in-class social media community and introducing today's players to a whole new generation of fans.
Prior to the Globetrotters, Schneider spent four years as executive vice president, marketing with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE). He also served as vice president of marketing for FOX Sports Net from its inception and in Corporate Alliances at the Walt Disney Company.
Celebrating 90 iconic years of providing smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions, The Harlem Globetrotters® are a worldwide icon, synonymous with one-of-a-kind family entertainment and great basketball skills. Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 122 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans – among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents – over nine thrilling decades. Sponsored by World Vision, Greyhound Lines and Baden Sports, Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, and to purchase tickets and team merchandise, visit the Globetrotters' official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com and follow them on Twitter @Globies.
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SOURCE Harlem Globetrotters