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The nonprofit that stages the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has a new chief executive: Rob Urbach from Colorado. Urbach will take the helm of the Iditarod Trail Committee on July 29, the race organization announced Saturday.
Urbach was the chief executive of USA Triathlon from 2011 to 2017 and, before that, worked as the executive vice president for Octagon, a global sports management and marketing firm, according to a statement from the Iditarod Trail Committee.
Urbach replaces longtime Iditarod chief executive Stan Hooley, whose resignation was announced in December. Hooley said he was stepping down to take another job.
Over the past couple years, the Iditarod has had a series of shakeups to its leadership amid turmoil, including the loss of longtime sponsors, the lowering of prize winnings, mounting criticism from animal-rights groups and a drug-testing scandal.
Iditarod Board of Directors President Mike Mills said in a statement that Urbach “embraces our vision of an Iditarod that is committed to the priority of canine care both on and off the trail.”
“In addition to his extensive credentials, Rob has proven himself to be a nimble and strategic leader and we’re looking forward to Rob taking the helm of the Last Great Race on Earth,” Mills said.
Saturday is also the first day mushers can sign up for the 2020 Iditarod.