USA Cycling has chosen a Harvard-educated businessman who once made the U.S. Olympic team to help usher the sport's national governing body through a critical and transformative time.
Derek Bouchard-Hall will replace Steve Johnson when USA Cycling's chief executive officially retires in June, the organization said Thursday. Johnson is stepping away from his highly visible role after nine years to pursue other interests.
''I could not be more excited to be returning to the sport I love at this time in its history,'' Bouchard-Hall said in a statement. ''We hope to capitalize on the very positive aspects of cycling, including the growth of women's cycling and the broadening of participation in cycling by those seeking to improve their fitness and well-being. I can't wait to get started.''
The U.S. is hosting the world road race championships in September in Richmond, Virginia, the first time it will take place on American soil since 1986. After that, the build-up begins for the Rio Olympics, where the U.S. will try to build on a modest showing at the 2012 London Games.
Bouchard-Hall will have his hands full given the boom in participatory cycling, increasing interest in BMX and emerging disciplines such as cyclocross, and the continued growth of WorldTour events such as the Tour of California and the USA Pro Challenge.
''Derek's business experience is a tremendous asset, but it is his track record of engaging with customers that convinced us he is right for the role,'' said Alex Nieroth, vice-chair of USA Cycling's board of directors. ''His experience and instincts unquestionably align with the direction we seek for USA Cycling moving forward.''
Bouchard-Hall began his cycling career while attending Princeton, and went on to compete in the world championships on the track. He won the national Criterium championship, participated in major events such as Paris-Roubaix, and was a member of the 2000 Olympic team.
After retiring from cycling, Bouchard-Hall earned a master's degree from Harvard and began consulting with Ernst & Young in Boston and McKinsey in London. He later joined Wiggle, where he's been in charge of the cycling and triathlon retailer's $100 million international business.
Bob Stapleton, the chairman of USA Cycling's board of directors, said Bouchard-Hall has ''deep insight into cycling enthusiasts'' and a track record of successful customer engagement.