Chief Executive Officer of IndyCar, Randy Bernard has stepped down from his role after an emergency meeting held by Hulman & Company, the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar over the weekend.
Speculation over recent days has been that Bernard was going to be terminated, however both IndyCar and Bernard maintain the split is amicable. In the interim, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and President and CEO of Hulman & Company, Jeff Belskus will step into the role that Bernard held.
“Both parties agree that it’s time to move forward separately, it’s an amicable separation and Randy is going to stay on in an advisory capacity,” Belskus said.
Bernard sat across the introduction of the new IndyCar chassis and has been instrumental in the expansion of the calendar along with the separate road course and oval Championships concept.
“I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the entire IndyCar community, its teams, drivers, loyal partners and fans,” said Bernard in a statement. “The last three years have produced some exciting, and some difficult, times. I am proud of what everyone at IndyCar has been able to accomplish since I came on board.”
It comes amid an interesting time for the IndyCar Series – whilst Bernard was popular among the fanbase, he was a polarising figure among many team owners, several of who were openly critical of him throughout season 2012, particularly around the cancellation of the proposed Chinese event and the financial boon that would have brought to the Series.
Just over a week ago, IRL founder, Tony George resigned from the board of Hulman & Company after continued exploration of acquiring the sanctioning body privately – which many believe is in concert with a number of team owners. It is not believed that the decision to part ways with Bernard is associated with the George bid.
Leading team, Andretti Autosport released a statement in support of Bernard and the Hulman & George Company:
“Randy worked hard to further the Series; we are grateful for his time with the sport and we wish him well in his future endeavours,” Andretti Autosport’s statement read. “We supported Randy just as we will continue to support the new administration. We believe that the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, IMS President and CEO Jeff Belskus and the Hulman-George family will make the right decisions that leverage the many strengths of IndyCar for the benefit of the fans, teams, drivers, promoters and sponsors.”
Roger Penske was typically straight to the point:
“I’m very disappointed in this decision; the board continues to show poor judgment. There is no future plan,” said The Captain. “The series had momentum. New cars, new engines and new race formats, all brought about by Randy. No business can run with a senior management change every two years.”
Bernard will continue in an advisory capacity with IndyCar, whilst Belskus has confirmed a search for a new CEO will begin immediately.