It is perhaps no coincidence that Peter V. Ueberroth
was born on September 2, 1937, the same date that the
founder of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre Baron
de Coubertin passed away – for many credit Peter with
saving the Olympic movement from the financial calamities
of the 1970’s and the boycotts of the 1980’s.
Peter was born in Evanston, Illinois, but grew up in
Sunnyvale, California, where he excelled in high school
as an athlete, participating in football, baseball and
swimming. Although he had never seen a game of
water polo before attending college, he was recruited
by Ed Rudloff to play at San Jose State University. He
quickly fell in love with the game, became a star player
and caught the spark of the Olympic Games when he
participated in the 1956 Water Polo Olympic Trials.
After graduating with a business degree in 1959, he moved
to Hawaii and at the age of 22, became a shareholder and
Vice President of Trans International Airline. In 1963,
he founded his first company, the First Travel Corporation,
which by 1978 had 1,500 employees in 200 offices
worldwide and was the second largest travel company in
In 1979, when the Los Angeles Committee for the Olympic
Games was looking for a person to take charge of the
Games, a “head-hunting” firm suggested Peter Ueberroth.
At first he declined, but pressed a second time changed his
mind and the rest is history.
leadership and management,
became the genesis
for the current International
recorded a surplus
of nearly $240 million dollars. The unprecedented profits
were used by Peter to endow the U.S. Olympic Committee,
the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles and
each of the national governing bodies. For the operational,
political and financial success of the Games, he was named
1984 Man of the Year by Time Magazine.
For the next five years he served as the Commissioner of
Major League Baseball. When he began this assignment,
22 of the League’s teams were losing money. At the end of
his term, all of the baseball teams were profitable.
With a proven track record of taking on a crisis and
turning it into success, Peter was appointed by Mayor
Tom Bradley and Governor
Pete Wilson to lead
the Rebuild LA Project in
the aftermath of the 1992
Los Angeles riots.
In 2004, the Olympic movement
called him back,
to serve as Chairman of
the Board of Directors of
the United States Olympic
by financial mismanagement,
relations, ethics scandals
and revolving door leadership, Peter restored financial
accountability, credibility and respect to the USOC
during his four-year term.
In addition to these examples of crisis management
success stories, Peter currently leads successful ventures
through his company the
Contrarian Group which
included the purchase of
the Pebble Beach Company,
bringing it back to
Peter and his wife, Ginny,
have four children and
eight grandchildren. They
live in Laguna Beach.