In an offseason where it feels like everyone is leaving the Senators, the organization has announced the hiring of a new chief marketing officer.
Today the Senators officially revealed that Aimee Deziel will assume the vacant CMO role effective August 13, 2018 armed with a mandate to “strengthen the organization’s marketing, sales and creative capabilities.”
According to the official press release, Deziel is a fluently bilingual former season seat holder who “has built and managed several businesses in marketing, tourism and professional services. Most recently, she served as Chief Operating Officer of Momentous, a holding company with deep expertise in digital marketing, domain name registration and web services.”
Deziel will fill a role that has been vacant since former CMO Peter O’Leary was fired in December of 2016. O’Leary subsequently filed a $1.55 million lawsuit against the Senators and Melnyk for a breach of contract.
For those wondering, Deziel’s LinkedIn page indicates that her place of residence is Barbados, hence the connection to Melnyk.
Deziel is faced with the unenviable task of marketing a Senators team to fans and advertisers after everything that has occurred over the past eight months.
Sure, the Senators’ slow descent into mediocrity has long escaped the attention of the masses because of goodwill fostered by the team’s unexpected runs — the Hamburglar run in the second half of the 2015 season and coming within an overtime goal of a Stanley Cup final berth last year — but, this season’s disastrous results have finally helped magnify the impacts of the owner and the yes-man culture he helped create.
How does one even begin to sell fans and corporate consumers on investing hope and hard-earned cash on a product that looks like it will continue to be owned by Eugene Melnyk following the team’s $135-million financing of a six-year senior term debt?
Even if Deziel’s an incredibly competent employee with great ideas, how does one get excited about the future when the owner’s continued presence casts a dark and ominous shadow over everything?
Like the Trump establishment, whenever anything goes wrong, the blame lands somewhere else and in the Senators’ case, the trail of bodies is long. Whether it’s a head coach, a C-level executive or rumblings from well-connected national journalists, Melnyk’s reputation for being someone who’s difficult to work is renowned.
Mix in the team’s decision to cut everything back at the hockey operations and player payroll levels and it’s easy to believe that these decisions are rooted in the owner’s attempt to scale costs back, so he can hold onto the team until the LeBreton Flats arena is done and he can either maximize the return on his investment and sell or maximize his revenue streams and maintain ownership of the club.
Hell, I haven’t even mentioned how Erik Karlsson’s uncertain future is tied to the possibility that new ownership could come in and save this franchise.
How does one begin to change the perception that this organization cannot be successful if Melnyk continues to preside as the owner?
Without significant changes to the organization’s philosophy, structure and modus operandi, I don’t know that you can.