Argo boss jumping ship

Keith Pelley, seen here with his wife, will be returning to the TV industry where he made his name...

Keith Pelley, seen here with his wife, will be returning to the TV industry where he made his name at the end of the Grey Cup game in Toronto. (Sun File/Debbie Holloway)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

Argonauts president and CEO Keith Pelley no longer will be charting the course for the Boatmen.

Instead, Pelley has accepted the position as President of the CTV-Rogers Olympic consortium that will build and lead the strategic plan for the coverage of the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Winter Olympics and 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Pelley had been with the Argonauts for four years and said yesterday that he will remain with the team until after this year's Grey Cup, which will be held at the Rogers Centre.

The Etobicoke resident said he was approached about the Olympic position almost a year and a half ago, but turned it down on two different occasions because he wanted to see the Argonauts through this season, particularly with the Grey Cup being played at home. He added that it was very difficult for him to leave a job that he has come to love.

"It would have had to have been a spectacular job for me to every consider leaving, not only the Argonauts but leaving two of the greatest people I've ever met in (owners) David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski," Pelley said yesterday. "It would have had to have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and this job is that. The Olympics don't come to our country very often."

Pelley will be returning to the industry where he made his name, beginning as an editorial assistant with TSN in 1986 before working his way up to senior news producer. In 1995, he left TSN and joined FOX Sports as a producer for the NFL and NHL and then returned to TSN in 1997. He was appointed president in 2001, before joining the Argos in 2003.

In his first full year with the team, the Argos won the Grey Cup (2004) and secured the rights to the 2007 Grey Cup.

But now, he will return to his first love, television.

"When I joined the Argos (in 2003), we had a monitor at home with 13 TVs on it," Pelley said.

"Well, I counted last night and I'm down to six, but I might have to add a couple more.

"I love television. It's been a passion of mine, but this (the Argos) has been a dream job."

Pelley said that both Sokolowski and Cynamon initially encouraged him to investigate the CTV-Rogers job when he was first approached by that group.

"If they in any way had not given me that type of support, then I would never have gone down that road," he said.

Sokolowski said yesterday that they already have started considering candidates for Pelley's replacement and that Pelley will assist in process.

"There have (already) been a number of phone calls (yesterday) morning to David and myself from people who want the job," Sokolowski said "We'll take our time and get the right guy, but we expect that to happen, certainly, before the Grey Cup."

In his new position with the CTV-Rogers consortium, Pelley will be responsible for building the organization, overseeing its day-to-day operations, the complete sales and marketing initiatives surrounding the Games, and creating the multi-platform coverage plan, which will include all facets of production, scheduling and the recruitment of on-air talent."

"Keith is the perfect choice to build and lead a winning Olympic team that will deliver unprecedented choice and coverage for the Games," said Ivan Fecan, CEO of CTV Inc.


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