|07-10-2007, 05:35 AM||#1|
Why So Curious?
McClatchy out of Pirates helm
McClatchy giving up seat as Pirates' CEO
Nutting begins search 'immediately' for replacement
Saturday, July 07, 2007
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Kevin McClatchy might still sit in his familiar front-row seat at PNC Park, but someone else soon will oversee the Pirates' daily operations.
McClatchy, who ceded the role of principal owner to Bob Nutting in January, told team employees yesterday that he will step down as chief executive officer, too, after the current season. That will end a 12-year tenure as CEO that is the fourth-longest in Major League Baseball.
But it will not, apparently, end McClatchy's association with the team. He is a minority owner and one of six members on the team's board of directors and said he plans to keep it that way "as long as Bob will have me."
The Pirates will begin searching for a new CEO "immediately," Nutting said, with a flexible goal of having one in place by October.
Nutting and McClatchy each said that McClatchy's stepping down was solely his decision.
"And I completely respect it," Nutting said.
McClatchy, who said he privately made his decision several months ago, gave two reasons for the timing of his announcement:
One, as he began to hint last year, he was worn down by the grind of running a big business, as well as the public criticism that came with overseeing a losing sports franchise. The Pirates never have had a winning season under McClatchy, their best record being 79-83 in 1997, his second year.
"John Madden once said you can take 10 years in the frying pan,"
McClatchy said, referring to the noted football commentator. "And then, you start to get burned out a little bit. That means being in front of the media and all of that. And, you know, anytime somebody is the CEO of any company for that long, in all honesty, it's a natural time for a change. It's the right thing to do, for the team and for me."
The other reason, he said, was to go public with the Pirates' job opening in advance of the All-Star Game Tuesday in San Francisco, an event that draws many of the sport's top executives.
McClatchy and Nutting will fly there early next week with an eye toward researching how other teams have conducted similar search processes.
"With the All-Star Game, there's going to be a buzz about this big job that's opened up," McClatchy said. "And, by my doing this now, it's going to give Bob a chance to get the best-qualified people applying and hire someone in time to have the greatest impact on next season. If we did this in October, we wouldn't get somebody hired until January or February."
Nutting called the job search "the most important decision I will make in my first year as principal owner," and he made clear that a wide net would be cast with no hard deadline.
"Finding the right person for the position is far more critical to me than how quickly we find a successor," he said.
Nutting would not say if the CEO would be someone whose background is more in baseball than business, given that his own is strictly business.
"I don't want to put any kind of constraints on qualifications," Nutting said.
"We're going to look for the person who will take this franchise to the next level. There's no question that our organization needs to focus on our on-field performance, but I don't want to limit the search."
Clearly, though, he has not spurned the idea of having a CEO with a baseball background, as is becoming a trend in the sport: He praised the San Diego Padres' choice of Sandy Alderson, an accomplished general manager, to be their CEO two years ago. He mentioned, too, the Baltimore Orioles' choice of Andy MacPhail, another former general manager, last month.
"Those are well respected baseball professionals," Nutting said.
McClatchy, 44, led the consortium that bought the Pirates for $90 million in 1996. He is widely credited with providing the greatest push to get PNC Park built -- which happened largely with government funding -- in 2001. He also has participated on several MLB committees, including the executive council, international committee and labor committee.
The negative to his tenure, of course, is the string of failure on the field. If the current Pirates maintain their losing record, it will bring the 15th losing season in a row for the franchise, one shy of the MLB record set by the 1933-48 Philadelphia Phillies. McClatchy would have overseen 12 of those.
"I take responsibility for that and accept it. That does come with regret," he said. "At the same time, seeing this team still playing here after it almost left town and seeing this beautiful ballpark, seeing the fans who support us, what we've done in the community ... if I get credit for it, that's great. If I don't, that's all right, too."
"The Pirates would not be in Pittsburgh if not for Kevin's efforts," Nutting said. "PNC Park would not be here, the All-Star Game wouldn't have been played here last year, and we wouldn't have seen all the development that's happening all around us on the North Shore right now without his commitment."
McClatchy, who recently bought a second home in the Pittsburgh area, sounded uncertain about his future.
"My only focus the next three months is going to be on our team," he said.
"When the last game is over ... I haven't really thought about it. I love Pittsburgh. But I don't know what the future holds. ... I do know this: I'm going to be passionate about the Pittsburgh Pirates until the day a shovel goes into the ground for me."
(Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at email@example.com.)
Soooooo.....does this mean the Pirates will actually be a TEAM in MLB instead of a JOKE now?
Last edited by darkpower; 07-10-2007 at 05:37 AM.
|07-13-2007, 12:12 PM||#2|
He Got a Bicycle