USA Pavilion President/CEO Nick Winslow Resigns

Late Tuesday afternoon the USA Pavilion at Expo 2010 (World’s Fair) announced that Nick Winslow, one of two founding partners of the non-profit that manages the pavilion, and its CEO and President, has resigned. He will maintain a seat on the pavilion’s board. The complete press release can be found after the page jump, below.

To note: the press release gives no reason for Winslow’s resignation. However, regular readers of this blog are aware that serious allegations have been raised about potential conflicts of interest between Winslow and the USA pavilion’s chief contractor, BRC Imagination Arts of Burbank, California; that such conflicts may, in fact, place the USA pavilion’s tax-deductible non-profit 501(c)(3) status at risk; that – on this basis and several others – at least one complaint against the USA pavilion has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service; and that, when questioned about these issues, Winslow provided me with a bizarre set of contradictory and highly legalistic answers. Are these issues the reason for Winslow’s resignation? I’ve just emailed a set of questions to a contact at the USA pavilion in hope of sussing out some answers; if I receive those answers, I’ll add them to this post (or, depending upon their usefulness/newsworthiness, write a new one). In the meantime, for those readers interested in background on the USA pavilion, recent questions surrounding Winslow, and – most important – supporting documents (including documents obtained from the IRS) regarding Winslow’s questionable professional relationships – see these posts:

For those interested in additional information about the USA pavilion, including the murky circumstances under which it was awarded to Winslow by the Bush State Department, see Shanghai Scrap’s USA Pavilion category, and “A Sorry Spectacle,” my March 2010 piece for Foreign Policy.

[UPDATED 6-10: This morning Will Clem of the South China Morning Post has a good story about the Winslow resignation and the questions that still revolve around Winslow and the USA pavilion, here (subscriber only). So far, and to its considerable discredit, the US media in Shanghai appear uninterested in covering the USA pavilion - on this issue, or any other.]

I’ll have more to say about this major development if and when I receive additional information on it. After the page jump, today’s carefully worded press release from the USA Pavilion.

UNITED STATES PAVILION AT SHANGHAI EXPO 2010 ANNOUNCES NEW PRESIDENT/CEO

[Shanghai, June 8, 2010] – Shanghai Expo 2010, the organizing body of the United States of America Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai, announced today that Martin Alintuck has been appointed president/CEO of the organization.

Alintuck replaces Nick Winslow who guided SE 2010 from its inception, through the successful May launch of the USA Pavilion, to its first month of operation in which it welcomed one million guests. Winslow, who is stepping back from day-to-day management responsibilities, will remain on the Board of Directors.

“Nick brought us from merely an idea to an extraordinary presence at the Expo,” said Kenneth Jarrett, chairman of the board of SE 2010. “We thank him greatly for his contributions as president/CEO and are glad we will have his continued advice and counsel on the Board.”

Alintuck, previously director of communications at the USA Pavilion, brings significant China management and leadership success to SE 2010. Prior to receiving a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Alintuck was managing director, China for Edelman, the largest independent PR firm in the world. He also served two years as vice chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing.

“Martin’s seven years of experience leading organizations in China will be a great asset to our presence at the Expo, as we enter a new phase, having had such a successful first month,” said Jose H. Villarreal, commissioner general of the USA Pavilion. “In choosing Martin to lead an already-strong management team with Mark Germyn, chief operations officer and Jun Ma, chief financial officer, we are set up for a tremendous presence throughout the Expo.”

Also announced is the addition of Robert Roche to the Board of Directors of SE 2010. Roche is the current chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and founder and director of Acorn International (NYSE: ATV), one of the largest direct response TV companies in China.

Since its launch on May 1, the USA Pavilion has hosted more than 1 million visitors from around the globe, China President Hu Jintao and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary. The USA Pavilion remains one of the most popular pavilions at the Expo hosting more than 45,000 visitors per day.

At over 60,000 square feet (6,000 square meters), the USA Pavilion is one of the largest national pavilions at the Expo. With the theme of “Rising to the Challenge”, the United States presence will showcase American culture, values, innovation and business in one of China’s most dynamic cities, while celebrating the friendship and cooperation between the United States, China and the rest of the world.

12 thoughts on “USA Pavilion President/CEO Nick Winslow Resigns

  1. Adam, Nick Winslow’s resignation is a direct result of your blog’s dogged reporting. Congratulations on a major public service. It’s been noticed.

  2. Finally, and very much as the result of the evidence and questions uncovered in this blog, the US Pavilion is – well, somewhat – “Rising to the Challenge”.

  3. ScottLoar LOL ‘rising to the challenge’ Alintuck is a good guy but me thinks it no accident that the USAP is now being run by a professional PR man. They’ve got problems over there. BIG problems.

    – A Fan on the Pudong Side

  4. Another thoughts occurs to us. Surely, whatever problems and issues led to Nick Winslow’s resignation were surely known by his founding partner, Covington & Burling’s own, Ellen Eliasoph? It defies belief to think that Ms Eliasoph was unaware of Winslow’s relationship with BRC? Or could she really be so naive?

  5. Adam, these developments seem to bear you out. And if so, maybe it’s not too soon to look for Martin Alintuck’s replacement.

    Last month I read on a blog (citing Forbes) a statement by Alintuck, “In 1994, Congress passed a law so that the State Department couldn’t spend any money on expos.” That was strange. According to the blog, Alintuck was bending the truth, a lot, to cover for 100% privately funding the pavilion.

    Then I remembered that Jose Villarreal, in his rebuttal to your Foreign Policy article, said that the reason that Winslow et al went totally private was that they thought Congress might be a hard sell for public funding. (That seems strange too, but he didn’t explain why.) Jose sure didn’t say that the law prohibited spending on expos.

    I was confused by these two different stories, especially because Alintuck’s appeared after Villarreal’s, so I looked up and actually read the law.

    The verdict: Jose is right and Martin is wrong. The law doesn’t say the State Department can’t spend money on expos, only that Congress needs to appropriate money for State to spend if and when State asks for it.

    The first law of good PR is know what’s what and not to spread lies, even inadvertently. Alintuck may be a nice guy, but he’s not right up there in terms of ethical practice.

    “Next in line…!”

  6. Great Wail of China – I’m as concerned as anyone about interpretations and mis-interpretations of the code related to funding US pavilions. That noted, I don’t think it’s fair or correct to refer to Alintuck as “unethical.” He’s a late entrant to the USA pavilion – two or three months there, I believe – and he’s been straight-up and very decent in my dealings with him.

  7. Nick is taking the fall for all of the FSOs who swore up and down that he and Ellen were the right team for the job. Jarrett’s excessive praise of Nick is laughable. After all Jarrett is the CG who supported Nick and Ellen in the first place. Will Jarrett be penalized for his lapse in judgment? Not a chance! How about Bea Camp? I don’t think so. I never thought that I’d feel bad for Nick but the more I think about this the more I think he’s getting screwed by a bunch of State Department careerists. Nobody should have to suffer that.

  8. Congrats… you’re the only one that gives a rat’s ass about this white elephant conceived during the Cheney Administration (with G.W. Bush as acting president).

  9. @Chinese Netizen, maybe that’s because, if you’re Chinese, you don’t have to make up the $60 million-plus in tax exemptions that these guys received for this loud, lingering billboard. American citizens do. Plus, putting your cynicism aside, it might have been interesting for the American people to have had a real change to connect with the Chinese people and the rest of the world.

  10. @London PR, Nick got what he deserved. He wasn’t blameless. But you are so right about the State Department and Consular functionaries, and the corporate compradores who are throwing Winslow and Eliasoph to the wolves, now that the whole scheme is unraveling. Winslow and Eliasoph stood to gain some financial gain; what did the others get or are they getting for their mendacity? Who assesses and who will assign their penance?

  11. I must say “loud, lingering billboard” is the most succinct and apt description yet of the US Pavilion.

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