Former Home Depot, 7-Eleven, Ford Exec Joins Holigan Racing

Mike Gade Named President Of Busch and Motocross Team

DALLAS, Tex. – One of the country’s top marketing and merchandising minds has been named president of Holigan Racing, team owner Michael Holigan has announced.

Mike Gade comes to the NASCAR Busch Series organization from Home Depot, where he was fully responsible for operations in the Southwest Region. The American Marketing Association Man of the Year Award winner has already begun work for Holigan.

“We are very excited Mike has joined us and will be leading our efforts with sponsors and activations of their marketing programs,” said Holigan, a former NASCAR Cup sponsor himself who formed the NASCAR Busch Series team at the beginning of the 2004 season.

“Holigan Racing is a marketing company that has gone racing. I truly believe that since Mike and I have both formerly been motorsport team sponsors, our understanding of the sponsor’s primary objectives allows us to implement those objectives in a way no one else has done before in motorsports,” Holigan said. “Mike’s experience working in retail and with packaged goods companies in a number of different categories will take us to an even higher level, and will benefit our sponsor partners.” Holigan Racing sponsors include Enzyte, Samsung, Radio Shack, Orbitz, Peterbilt, and Kaeser.

Bringing in a top retail and merchandising mind like Gade might be “out of the box” for some teams, but it’s business as usual for Holigan Racing. The team was formed “out of the box,” and is the only team that is the sole subject of a weekly motorsports reality television show. The Reality Of Speed on Spike TV (Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Eastern and Pacific; 9:30 a.m. Central) has had more viewers than any other motorsports reality show.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with a cutting-edge race team,” said Gade. “Motorsports has a foundation of entertainment and marketing. The close competition in NASCAR racing is evident and helps bring the millions of fans to the grandstands and in front of television sets each week. The marketing area is so crucial to the sport but I have only seen one team that has truly taken the needs of their sponsors and parlayed those into positive quantifiable results - and I am part of that team now.”

Gade has 29 years of experience in the retail and consumer products industries. Beginning his career as a consultant, he eventually was named Global Chairman of the Retail/Consumer Products Practice at Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC). His development of strategic partnership programs with many of the world’s largest retailers led to innovative new product development programs, alternative sourcing strategies and new planning methodologies.

At Ford in 1994, he became EVP Development and CMO for The Associates, the consumer finance operations of Ford Credit. In addition to running day-to-day marketing he was deeply involved with the Ford Credit # 88 NASCAR team and was responsible for the TranSouth 500 NASCAR Cup race at Darlington, S.C.

Gade moved from Ford to the 7-Eleven Convenience store chain as SVP Merchandising and CMO. During his tenure there, the company achieved 18 straight quarters of increased merchandise same store sales, enhanced partnerships with its consumer goods partners, lead extensive new product introductions, and introduced new marketing strategies. Gade also developed the successful racing sponsorship program teaming with many of their key CGM partners. Andretti/Green racing was selected and they fielded two cars in the Indy Racing League.

He left 7-Eleven in 2003 and joined Home Depot responsible for the Southwest Region. Emphasis was shifted into a “never lose a customer” mentality. Customer service was dramatically improved, while new products and assortments were featured and led the growth.