Delaware North Companies Announces Key Leadership Changes

Abramson moves to Parks & Resorts; Wentzell named president of Sportservice

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: October 17, 2012

Rick Abramson, president of Delaware North Companies Sportservice, has been named president of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, effective Jan. 1, 2013, and he sees great opportunity for growth here and abroad.

Abramson,_Rick_200.jpgRick Abramson

At the same time, John Wentzell, currently president of Delaware North Companies Boston and Delaware North Companies International, will take the helm as president of Sportservice. Wentzell will lead the company’s growing portfolio of more than 50 venues throughout North America.

Wentzell’s purview will include businesses in the United Kingdom – including such iconic locations as Wembley Stadium, Emirates Stadium and Heathrow Airport – as well as additional growth opportunities throughout Europe.

Flying back from a rained-out St. Louis Cardinals playoff game at Busch Stadium today, Abramson took a moment with Venues Today to discuss his loyalty to DNC and to sports, saying he's not moving anywhere, except maybe up a floor.


John Wentzell

One of his new titles is executive chairman of Delaware North Companies Australia and Asia, and he is looking forward to leading the company’s Australia and New Zealand operations – including overseeing its extensive sports venue, travel hospitality and luxury resort business – and pursuing opportunities for growth in Asia and India. The National Tennis Stadium is dear to his heart, he added. He used to work in Australia for DNC.

DNC is currently working on deals in Singapore and India, either of which would mark the company's first client in Asia. Abramson is planning to close both those contracts. "When you see those signs go up, you know I've landed."

"I love the sports business," he added. "I was born and raised in it. My mother is in it. But I'm a Delaware North guy." He doesn't intend to be more than a phone call away, but when company duty calls, "you go there." His favorite quote, he says, comes from John F. Kennedy and goes something like, "There are risks in the course of action; but there is far more risk in inaction."

"I have an opportunity to grow and develop," Abramson said. "And I'm only a phone call away. It's basically leading people and having the famous esprit de corps we have. In Australia, we do sports stadiums, arenas, Australia Rules Football."

Since becoming president of Sportservice in 2004, Abramson has led its growth into a more than $750-million food service and retail business by adding major professional sports clients at venues such as MetLife Stadium, Lambeau Field, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Target Field and Bank of America Stadium.

As president of Delaware North Companies Boston, Wentzell has had leadership responsibilities spanning the company-owned TD Garden, adjacent commercial real estate holdings and certain key sales and business functions of the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins, owned by Delaware North Companies Chairman and CEO Jeremy Jacobs. That role, assumed in 2006, was expanded in 2011 to also include oversight of Delaware North's diverse international business portfolio across the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Wentzell joined Delaware North Companies Boston in 1996 as vice president of operations. Ironically, it was Wentzell, not Abramson, who was in India today and not available for comment before presstime.

And there are more changes. Amy Latimer recently assumed the post as the new president of TD Garden.

Kevin Kelly, currently president of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, will move into a newly created role for Delaware North as vice president of shared services for the company’s global operations. Kelly will oversee enterprise-wide services – including retail, the Culinary and Hospitality Council, supply management services, facilities, corporate security and the GreenPath environmental management program.

Kelly joined Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts in 1996 as director of retail operations at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex before going on to serve as a regional vice president for the division and president of the company’s Yosemite National Park operations.

Jim Houser, currently vice president of administration for Delaware North Companies, will take on a new leadership role for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts as chief operating officer. In this role, he will focus on providing leadership to both North American and Australian Parks & Resorts locations plus play a pivotal role in the company’s growth initiatives in Asia and India.

“These management changes and our ability to share talent throughout our global enterprise are vitally important to our growth and long-term success,” said Delaware North Companies President and Chief Operating Officer Charles E. Moran in a press release.

The company also announced that it is actively searching for a new chief operating officer for Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment and also a new general counsel. Current General Counsel Bryan Keller is taking on a new role as senior counsel – vice president within Delaware North’s Law Department.

Contact: Wendy Watkins, (716) 858-5092

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: October 17, 2012