EF Education First (EF), the world leader in international education, today announced that experienced sport and fitness executive Mary Wittenberg has joined EF as president of EF Pro Cycling. Wittenberg will help position the team for future success and promote EF’s mission of opening the world through education by encouraging people to step outside of their comfort zones and explore the world.
Wittenberg recently served as the founding CEO of Virgin Sport and prior to that was the long time CEO of New York Road Runners and race director for the TCS New York City Marathon. Her experience in the running and endurance space spans 20 years, and her ability to think creatively in promoting athletes and partners dovetails with EF’s adventurous company spirit and bold goals for EF Pro Cycling in 2019 and beyond.
“EF’s commitment is to bring different cultures together, to spark mutual understanding around the ways people and communities approach and see life. The goal is to promote empathy among people of diverse backgrounds, and inspire new ways of thinking which together can help make the world a little better,” said EF CEO North America Edward Hult. “EF Pro Cycling is a platform that embodies this spirit, and which helps show how positive things happen when people explore the world. Having Mary join the team is an exciting step in continuing to spread this message.”
Wittenberg will focus on creating fun new ways for the team and EF’s global workforce of 46,500 to interact, identifying new, compelling partnership opportunities, and exploring resources to further benefit the team. She will also liaise between EF senior leadership and EF Pro Cycling staff.
“I am excited to join EF and our pro cycling team at this formative stage and to be part of a purpose-driven company that brings people together through exploring the world,” Wittenberg said. “I am inspired by the sport of cycling and this team, in particular; as riders from different countries and cultures come together to bring their dreams to life. EF and Jonathan Vaughters have set a great foundation that marry the transformative power of travel, education and sport. We have a chance to bring a fresh approach to cycling and recruit similarly inspired partners to join us.”
In Wittenberg, team CEO, founder, and former pro cyclist Jonathan Vaughters has a partner who can help the team reach new audiences.
“Mary brings a fresh perspective to the sport. Mary’s vision, passion, and expertise make her uniquely qualified to lead our efforts as we seek to expand our reach,” Vaughters said. “We’re working toward creating a more sustainable financial model for the team, and we’ll be leaning heavily on her business and brand background, and also her experience in growing one of the world’s great sporting events.”
The addition of Wittenberg comes as the team looks toward next season with a new perspective. EF Pro Cycling recently announced its partnership with apparel brand Rapha to collaborate on all-access content and bold new team kit, and the team will also put some of its riders in alternative-style events, from gravel races in the US to multi-day endurance races in far-flung locales. The aim? Reach more people, and tell more compelling stories.
As the first female CEO of New York Road Runners and Race Director for the New York City Marathon, Wittenberg and her team drove unprecedented growth with initiatives that touched the five boroughs of New York, the nation, and the world. Wittenberg also co-founded the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a strategic alliance of the world’s major marathons of Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Berlin and Tokyo, created in 2006 to grow the sport of marathon running globally.
Wittenberg’s start with the team is effective immediately.
About EF Education First: EF Education First is an international education company that focuses on language, travel, academics and cultural exchange. Founded in 1965, EF has more than 580 offices and schools in over 50 countries. Moved by the powerful way cycling unites people of diverse backgrounds in a peaceful, fun, and friendly way to achieve extraordinary athletic feats, EF entered professional cycling in 2018 to help spread its mission of opening the world through education.