Friday, August 22, 2014

Tim Leiweke, President Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Steps Down

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has started looking for a new chief executive officer.
Current CEO Tim Leiweke will continue in his role until June 30, 2015 or until a successor is appointed, MLSE said Thursday in a statement.

"Under Tim's leadership, MLSE has made a number of key moves to strengthen our organization on the path to championship success," said MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum. "We look forward to working closely with Tim to build on this foundation and further accelerate our momentum as we seek a new leader for MLSE."

Leiweke, who also serves as MLSE president, joined the company in April of 2013. He plans to pursue his goal of owning and operating his own business following his departure from MLSE.
There is a trick to getting a reduction in your cable bill that is well known to people in these parts. If you group your television, internet and cellphone services with one of the two main Ontario providers, Bell or Rogers, every so often you can play one off against the other.

If you threaten to take your business to the other guy, some freebies soon follow. Friends advise one another of the process: “Did you talk to someone in Retention? You have to ask to speak to Retention. That’s the good stuff right there.”

Which is to say, Bell and Rogers, the two telecom giants, are about as competitive as two corporations can be. They fight for customers at the consumer level, they fight for advertisers for their broadcast operations, and they fight for viewers to help lure those advertisers, which has led to the hilarious arms race between TSN and Sportsnet in which each tries to cram as many ex-NHLers into a studio as possible on trade deadline day.

And yet, they are also partners, a situation again underscored as untenable with Thursday’s announcement of the sudden-but-not departure of Tim Leiweke as the president and chief executive of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the monolith in which Bell and Rogers are joint majority owners. It’s a situation that should make Toronto sports fans nervous.

Leiweke, who arrived only 14 months ago from Los Angeles like a thunderclap, carrying championship titles in three different sports, issued a statement that made it sound like his move was part of a desire to own his own business, to transition “from sports and entertainment executive to entrepreneur,” but it can’t possibly be as simple as that. The job he was brought in to do — rebuild MLSE’s lot of sorry franchises — isn’t just unfinished, it has barely begun. Leiweke directed boatloads of cash to Toronto FC, the soccer team, and the team appears likely to finally make the playoffs eight seasons after its birth, but the new veterans remain coached by someone in his first coaching role.

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