Search for new MLSE president slows down
Peddie’s official retirement date is the end of December, but he could actually take his leave (with a nice fat consultant’s contract in hand, I’ll bet) by July 1. MLSE’s fiscal year-end is June 30, and Peddie has the company purring smoothly – at least as far as money matters are concerned – so it would make sense to put the new fellow in place when the new financial year starts.
The problem is, just who will own the majority share of MLSE put on the block by Teachers probably won’t be settled by then. If MLSE is looking for someone from the A-list of candidates, as promised, this will stall the search for a long-term successor.
Anyone among the top five or so sports company presidents in North America will want to know who they are working for before making a commitment, just as any new owner will want to pick their own president.
Peddie told his current bosses he is willing to hang around until the ownership question is settled. That might extend his stay until September, as nothing much is expected to happen on the Teachers sale as prospective bidders will be tied up over the next month or so looking at MLSE’s books.
The reason this is an issue with the Maple Leafs is that ever since MLSE chairman (and part-owner) Larry Tanenbaum and Peddie were moderates in the NHL lockout of 2004-05, they have been frozen out of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s inner circle. This means the league’s wealthiest franchise does not have a strong voice at the governors’ table.
There is a vacancy on the NHL governors’ executive committee – the one that makes all the important decisions the other governors rubber-stamp – but Bettman has not been falling all over himself to hand it to Tanenbaum. The MLSE chairman is not going anywhere, no matter who ends up owning most of the company. But if MLSE’s next president was already held in high regard by Bettman, then maybe this problem would go away.
- Globe and Mail
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