Via random clicking, this is a pretty bonkers story of Nick Clark, a Virginia-area bike shop owner who claimed to have been a former pro cyclist, an international lawyer and also a former UN peacekeeper. Apparently, he was also the CEO of Alexium, a flame retardant company?
Immediately before he started cosplaying as a professional cyclist, Clark’s most prominent and prestigious role was as CEO of Alexium. That’s a chemical company headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, with links to cycling – for a season, it co-sponsored an Australian National Road Series team. The majority of its operations, however, are out of Greenville, South Carolina.
...Clark played a major role as a cheerleader for the company, but testimony from within suggests that his leadership had its limits.
One Alexium staff member, speaking to CyclingTips on the condition of anonymity, was hired during Clark’s time as CEO. This individual – who worked as a lab supervisor – came from a military and law enforcement background, and told me that he had no relevant qualifications and no experience in chemistry at the time. He was, he admits, hired purely on the basis of being riding buddies with Clark.
...Like others I have spoken to, this employee gradually built a perception that Clark was, like an actor, inhabiting a series of roles. And indeed, while during his Alexium days Clark is recognisably the same guy as he was when running ProBike FC, his demeanour and presentation is starkly different. Video footage of the time shows that despite his temper, he was far more polished in his corporate life – a dramatic contrast to the sometimes coarse, hyper-masculine persona he had at the bike shop.
People get hired for all sorts of different reasons, and being buddies with the CEO is, I suspect, pretty common. You can get a sense for what Nick Clark was like as a CEO in the above video; it's a shame that they didn't have him spout some random technical mumbo-jumbo.