Howard J. Kahn is an experienced entertainment and corporate revitalization executive, with a professional career spanning 30 years in senior leadership positions.
Mr. Kahn is president and founder of Innovative Strategic Management, LLC of Roslyn, New York, a diversified Consultancy. The Company was formed in 2002 and over a decade has expanded its service offerings. The Company serves and has served a broad array of clients in private equity, entertainment, leisure, direct marketing, retail, brand management, manufacturing, services, associations, government, and not-for-profits.
Mr. Kahn has top management experience directing corporate turnarounds, realigning businesses, monetizing new ventures, and developing growth strategies for companies in entertainment, sports, marketing, manufacturing, and other fields. He has honed his skills as a business development executive, sales management professional, and brand steward; with significant experience growing revenues, building new revenue streams, penetrating new markets, developing positioning strategies, creating marketing and advertising solutions with meaningful ROI, and executing on-target creative. Mr. Kahn is frequently called upon by attorneys, accountants, as well as by other professionals, for his solution- oriented problem solving skills.
Mr. Kahn, co-originated and advised Parques Reunidos of Madrid Spain (the second largest holder of Theme Parks in Europe) and Candover Private Equity of the U.K., now Arle (their private equity partners) on their $330MM acquisition of Palace Entertainment from Mid Ocean Partners of New York. Palace Entertainment, headquartered in Newport Beach, California, includes 40 U.S. parks and attractions and is the largest operator of waterparks and family entertainment centers in the United States. Additionally, Mr. Kahn co-originated and advised Parques Reunidos’ and Candover on their $200MM+ acquisition of the five theme parks in the Kennywood Entertainment Group, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Kahn co-originated and advised Parques Reunidos on its acquisition of Dutch Wonderland from Hershey Entertainment. He also originated for Parques/Palace the acquisition of Noah’s Ark, America’s largest waterpark.
Mr. Kahn also works with and advises private equity groups, hedge funds, and investment banks on their leisure and entertainment investments. Mr. Kahn, recently co-advised the bondholders led by Cerberus on their problematic investment in Hard Rock Park, Myrtle Beach, SC. He also provided consulting services to a prominent Hedge Fund with significant investments in publicly traded equities in entertainment companies.
Mr. Kahn served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Auto & Leisure Products for Cendant Corporation. He was hired by Cendant to be a member of the senior management turn-around team formed to deal with issues created from the problematic merger of HFS and CUC. In this capacity he successfully led the turn-around of a group of businesses including: AutoVantage, Family FunSaver Club, Leisure Values, and Dinner On Us Club. He also led the creation of Great Fun and Great Experiences membership programs. After the turn-around these businesses served over two million consumers, producing $125 million in revenues, and $25 million in EBITDA. Mr. Kahn co-managed the sale of the AutoVantage dealer referral network to Auto Nation, which created the platform for AOL’s online car sales program.
He served as Vice President of U.S. Sales for LIVENT, then North America's largest and fastest growing producer of live entertainment. The Company's shows and touring productions included Ragtime, Showboat, and Fosse. Mr. Kahn was selected to work on the Company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy work-out team, negotiating the outsourcing of the Company’s sales operations, while keeping the operating businesses cash flow positive.
For over six years, Mr. Kahn held a number of increasingly responsible management positions at Madison Square Garden. During this period, The Garden was owned by Paramount, then Viacom, then ITT, and finally by Cablevision. As Vice President of Sales, he led sales teams that produced unprecedented season subscription sell-outs for the Knicks and Rangers, as well as quadrupling group sales. Mr. Kahn led the creation of The Garden's highly successful Special Events business; marketing, renting the facility, producing, and providing catering for large-scale special events. He also held key leadership roles in the development of The Garden’s Behind The Scenes Tour and the creation of “A Christmas Carol.”
Mr. Kahn began his career at Astroland Amusement Park in Coney Island, where he served as Vice President, while also managing Howard Kahn & Associates, Inc., an advertising and marketing firm.
Mr. Kahn served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, where he chaired the Public Relations Committee, and received the annual service award for the most valuable service to the industry by an individual. He was President of the New York Parks & Attractions Association, where he worked with legislators and lobbyists on public safety and taxation legislation.
Mr. Kahn holds an M.B.A. degree from Hofstra University. At Hofstra he chaired and founded the M.B.A. Alumni Group and co-chaired the Frank G. Zarb School of Business Alumni Association. He also holds a B.A. from Harpur College at the State University of New York at Binghamton where he had dual majors in Political Science and Management.
Robert M. Gutkowski,
Sports & Entertainment
Robert M. Gutkowski is one of the true visionaries and significant asset builders in sports and entertainment. Mr. Gutkowski served as President & CEO of Madison Square Garden, as President & CEO of the Marquee Group, and in senior leadership positions for Paramount Television, NBC Sports, and ESPN.
Among Mr. Gutkowski’s key achievements was the landmark $486 million New York Yankees-Madison Square Garden Network cable distribution deal, which forever changed the sports economic landscape, increased the value of the MSG Network by 2,000%, and helped enable the Yankees to dominate Major League Baseball during the past two decades.
Mr. Gutkowski was the creative impetus behind Bob Sillerman’s “roll-up” of regional, independent concert promoters to create the first nationwide, vertically-integrated concert promotion company for SFX Entertainment, which transformed the multi-billion dollar live music concert industry. Mr. Gutkowski was also a principal architect of the New York Yankees’ YES Network for George Steinbrenner and Goldman Sachs, which has become the template of a “year-round” regional sports network.
Today, as a partner in Innovative Strategic Management, LLC, Mr. Gutkowski serves on corporate boards and is a highly sought after trusted advisor to leaders in sports and entertainment, private equity funds, and investment banks. Currently, and for the last two years, Mr. Gutkowski has served as a consultant to the President of ESPN on international radio and digital projects.
Mr. Gutkowski founded and served as President and CEO of The Marquee Group, a worldwide sports and entertainment firm that managed, produced and marketed sports and entertainment events and provided representation for athletes, entertainers and broadcasters. The Marquee Group, which became a public company in 1996, acquired many related companies, including: Athletes and Artists, Sports Marketing and Television International, QBQ Entertainment, Tollin-Robbins Entertainment, Park Associates, Alphabet City Records, Cambridge Golf and ProServ. In early 1999, The Marquee Group was acquired for over $100 million by SFX Entertainment.
Mr. Gutkowski was President of Madison Square Garden from 1991-1994. He was responsible for the operations of the New York Knickerbockers basketball team; the New York Rangers hockey team, which won the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship; MSG Communications, including MSG Network, the nation’s largest regional cable network; MSG Entertainment; and the MSG Facilities Group, which operated The Garden Arena and The Paramount Theater.
After joining the Company in 1985 as President of MSG Network, Mr. Gutkowski held several senior executive positions at Madison Square Garden. He was named Executive Vice President of the MSG Communications Group in 1987; overseeing the operations of MSG Network, MSG Radio and MSG Boxing, and became President of that group in 1990. Under his leadership, the subscriber base of the Network - the oldest and largest regional sports network in the country – more than doubled, to 5.1 million subscribers. During his tenure, the MSG Network attained a reputation for creating innovative coverage of sporting events, including wiring athletes for sound and split-screen coverage of simultaneous events.
In order to produce entertainment product, rather than rely on traditional bookings, Mr. Gutkowski led a two-year development project of a Christmas show to compete with Radio City’s Christmas Show. In November 1994, “A Christmas Carol” with music by Alan Menken (composer of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast) opened for its initial six-week $25 million revenue producing run. A Christmas Carol ran profitably for over a decade.
Over 1993 and 1994, The Garden was the most active building in the country in bookings and revenues, and was named “Arena of the Year” by Pollstar magazine.
Prior to joining The Garden, Mr. Gutkowski spent 15 years in the sports and television business, serving from 1983 to 1985 as vice president of the Paramount Television Domestic Distribution Advertiser Sales Group. The Department, created by Mr. Gutkowski, was responsible for the selling of advertising inventory in all of Paramount’s first-run programming, and the unit eventually became “Premiere” advertiser sales, the country’s leading barter sales company.
From 1981 to 1983, Mr. Gutkowski was vice president of programming at ESPN, where he directed programming and scheduling for the Network. He was responsible for ESPN’s acquisition of NBA Basketball and USFL Football, and developed ESPN into the premier college basketball network by negotiating the rights for PAC 10, Big 10, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East games.
Before joining ESPN, Mr. Gutkowski was director of sports sales for NBC. Among his responsibilities was supervising the advertising sales and marketing of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. He directed the effort that resulted in a more than 90 percent sell-out six months prior to the opening ceremonies. Mr. Gutkowski also worked for NBC’s “The Today Show” and “The Tonight Show” before moving to the sports division.
Mr. Gutkowski is a graduate of Hofstra University.