Dee bolts Dolphins to take Padres CEO job
Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee announced Wednesday that he was leaving the team to become the president and CEO of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres.
Dee made his announcement in a series of tweets Wednesday.
I'm excited to announce that I'm returning to San Diego as President & CEO of the @Padres. It's not easy to make this move... (1/2)— Mike Dee (@MikeDeeFins) July 17, 2013
at such an exciting time for the franchise, but I could not turn down this incredible opportunity to return my roots...— Mike Dee (@MikeDeeFins) July 17, 2013
Despite my new role, I will always be a member of Dolfan Nation. A big thank you to Steve Ross + So. Fla. for four great years. #FinsUp— Mike Dee (@MikeDeeFins) July 17, 2013
Tom Garfinkel, who assumed the duties of CEO after predecessor Jeff Moorad stepped aside early last year, stepped down from his position with the Padres last week.
The Dolphins said Dee would remain with them for the next several weeks while he prepares for the transition to his new role and a return to the franchise with whom he started his career as a sports executive in 1995.
Dee was with the Padres from 1995 until 2002 before leaving to join the Boston Red Sox's front office. He became the Red Sox's chief operating officer in 2004 and held the position until he left to join the Dolphins in 2009.
"Mike's enthusiasm, his love for San Diego, his love of the Padres ... he's going to be an extraordinary leader for the new ownership group," Dan Novak, vice president of global marketing, public relations and communications for Qualcomm, told MLB.com.
Dee's job change comes about two months after the Dolphins were denied public money for a stadium upgrade by Florida's Legislature. That decision by lawmakers eliminated any realistic chance that the Dolphins had of playing host to Super Bowl 50 and Super Bowl 51, and South Florida's bids for those games eventually proved futile.
There is a certain irony in that Dee is returning to the franchise that got a stadium deal with his help.
He joined the Padres as director of corporate development, and then was promoted several times on the way to becoming senior vice president of business affairs in 2001. During Dee's time in San Diego, the Padres won two division titles, appeared in a World Series and passed a proposition that led to the construction of Petco Park, the team's current home.
"He has the experience, passion and intellect to drive this organization to great success," Padres lead investor Peter Seidler and executive chairman Ron Fowler said in a joint statement. "All of these qualities, combined with his familiarity with our community and his legendary energy, are going to assure exciting times for Padres' fans."
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross thanked Dee for his time with the Dolphins and said the team would begin the search for a new CEO immediately.
"Under Mike, we have broadened our role in the community, improved our technology footprint within the organization and enhanced our customer service to our fans. As a result of Mike's leadership and combined with the hard work of our football operations department, I feel that the organization is well positioned for future success both on and off the field," Ross said in a statement.
Dee left the Padres in 2002 for a job with the Red Sox, and was president of Fenway Sports Group, the company he created in 2004 to help diversify the team's business interests outside of the baseball club. He remained with the Red Sox before coming to the Dolphins in May 2009.
Dee returns to a Padres franchise that largely has struggled since being swept by the New York Yankees in the 1998 World Series.
He replaces Tom Garfinkel, who resigned on July 9. Garfinkel was a holdover from the previous ownership group. The Padres were bought in August by a group headed by the sons and nephews of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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