Front Office Change

Craig Benzel, marketing assistant the past three years, has been promoted to director of corporate sponsorship for the Green Bay Packers as part of a restructuring of the team's marketing efforts.

"Craig is a very talented individual and one we feel is ideally suited to spearheading our future marketing endeavors as we move into an exciting new era with a renovated Lambeau Field as a 365-day-a-year tourist destination," Packers president Bob Harlan said. "He brings high and creative energy to the position, as well as varied and extensive experience."

Executive vice president and chief operating officerJohn Jones will oversee Benzel's efforts. "Craig is committed to building stronger relationships with our existing clients," Jones added. "He is also looking ahead to the new Lambeau Field opening in 2003 and creating opportunities for new sponsors to join the Packers family."

Benzel will be assuming many of the responsibilities previously held by Jeff Cieply, director of marketing since 1989, who is pursuing other opportunities after leaving the organization by mutual agreement.

"We want to thank Jeff for the contributions he has made to the Packers organization in establishing and developing the club's marketing department," Harlan said, "and wish him well in his future endeavors."

A search has been initiated to secure a more senior executive in marketing or business development to complement Benzel's efforts, Harlan said, adding that Kandi Goltz, administrative assistant, and Cathy Dworak, a marketing aide, will continue in their marketing department responsibilities. Packers retail operations will continue under the guidance of Packers Pro Shop Coordinator Kate Hogan, who will report to Jones during the restructuring.

Benzel, 38, joined the Packers organization as marketing assistant in 1998. Over the past three years, his responsibilities have included corporate sponsorship sales, project management, game operations, development of new revenue sources, brand protection, regional licensing agreements, managing affinity programs, developing television and radio programming and coordinating training camp fan operations.

Benzel, an Oconomowoc, Wis. native, launched his career as a marketing intern (1989) and marketing coordinator (1990-91) for the Milwaukee Brewers before becoming director of corporate sponsorships for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Athletic Department (1991-92), a position in which he was primarily responsible for developing new revenue sources and selling corporate sponsorships.

In 1993, he became senior account executive for the Milwaukee Wave professional soccer team, subsequently was promoted to director of corporate sponsorships in 1994 and to vice president of marketing in 1997.

In the latter role, which he left in 1998 to join the Packers organization, he was primarily responsible for managing all aspects of revenue generation, including corporate sponsorships, trade agreements, ticket promotions, television and radio programming, media placement and summer camps.

A graduate of Ripon College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and business management, Benzel also has an MBA degree with a marketing emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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