The last urgent file is settled with the Montreal Alouettes. The team has found its new president. The appointment of Mark Weightman was formalized on Tuesday afternoon.
“I haven’t had two seconds free,” Weightman said over the phone just minutes after announcing his return to the organization. This will be his second term with the Alouettes. The Quebecer worked in the Montreal organization from 1996 to 2016, notably occupying the position of president and chief executive officer from 2013 to 2016.
“I’m excited, feverish, and can’t wait to start this new term,” he added. He will take office on April 11.
For him, this represents “an ideal situation”. In particular thanks to the arrival of Pierre Karl Péladeau as owner. “I’m coming in on terms where the owner is engaged, passionate, and driven by a deep desire to make it work,” Weightman enthused.
The Alouettes are heading in the right direction, he believes, and that’s why he decided to come back. Recently, he participated in the creation and marketing of the Lions of Trois-Rivières, in the ECHL, and the Alliance of Montreal, in the CEBL.
The foundations of the franchise are “solid”, with the new owner and a general manager, Danny Maciocia, whom he has known for more than 25 years, he says.
Weightman said he received a call from the Péladeau team. “Mr. Péladeau’s entourage contacted me to gauge my interest. He therefore did not necessarily raise his hand when the position previously held by Mario Cecchini became available. “I was in contact with different branches of Videotron and Quebecor, through my role with the Lions,” he recalls. Indeed, the Mauricie team is sponsored, supported and supported for the most part by Videotron.
If the tasks of the head coach, the general manager and the owner are quite clear and rather simple to define and understand, those of the president are perhaps more difficult to grasp for ordinary mortals.
Weightman has extensive experience in the sports world, in leadership positions. This neuralgic function had to be filled by someone who knew tobacco.
The definition offered by the new president of the Alouettes of his daily tasks boils down to ensuring that “the general manager has what he needs to succeed. That he has no distractions and that he can work in optimal conditions.”
He also discusses “strategic deployments, ticket sales, global strategies and aligning departments.”
Thus, Weightman is a neuralgic link in the organizational structure of the organization.
If he came back, it is first to “establish a winning culture, but above all a culture of excellence. Whether in the field or in the office. I know I’m going to be successful when I don’t need to repeat it anymore and all the employees in the organization are going to push each other towards excellence. You have to demand that of everyone,” he explains.
He concedes, “It’s a simple game plan, but not an easy one to accomplish.”
He also wants to offer more to the fans. The “stadium experience” and the “community aspect” were discussed. He remembers a time when players were real stars in the metropolis. They were references, models.
“We sell many things, but what we mainly sell at the stadium is an experience. We must maximize the appreciation of the customer experience. »
He also wants to continue the work of his predecessor in terms of connecting the team and the fans, because “it’s part of the DNA of the organization. […] We have to give the Alouettes back to the fans.”
After his departure, Weightman admits to having followed the Alouettes with great interest. He knows the bond uniting the Alouettes and Quebecers and he has always refused to believe in the death of the team announced by certain observers. “There is such a rich history and deep roots, I was confident something was going to happen. »
That something finally happened. With his return, all important positions have been filled. Now the Alouettes can fly on their own.