Blazers Hire Chris McGowan As President And CEO

marshall.usc.edu

The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Chris McGowan to serve as president and CEO, replacing Larry Miller.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Monday the hiring of Chris McGowan as president and CEO. He replaces former president Larry Miller, who resigned in July and returned to Nike's Brand Jordan.

The Blazers also announced the resignation of general counsel Mike Fennell on Monday.

Here's the team's release announcing McGowan's hiring.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced today that Los Angeles sports executive Chris McGowan will be the Trail Blazers' new President and Chief Executive Officer. McGowan joins the Trail Blazers from his position as Chief Operating Officer of AEG Sports, where he has played prominent leadership roles in the reigning NHL champion Los Angeles Kings and the MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy.

"It is a great day for the Portland Trail Blazers as we welcome Chris to the Northwest," said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. "With his demonstrated leadership with the Kings and Galaxy, I am confident he will find ways to improve the Blazers' business performance, which is key to the team's overall success."

McGowan replaces Larry Miller, who resigned as the team's president in July to return to Nike, and joins General Manager Neil Olshey and Head Coach Terry Stotts, who were both hired earlier this year. He will assume his new position on November 12.

"With Chris now onboard, the Blazers' new leadership team is complete," Allen said.

"I am honored to take on this role," said McGowan. "I have always admired the strength of the Trail Blazers' brand and the passion of their fan base and am eager to join the staff as we continue building an organization the city can be proud of."

McGowan will manage all business operations of the team and the Rose Garden. He will report to Peter McLoughlin, currently president of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and MLS' Seattle Sounders FC, who is assuming the role of CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment (VSE). VSE oversees the business operations of Allen's sports franchises and facilities. McLoughlin will continue in his roles with the Seattle franchises as well as with First and Goal, Inc., which manages CenturyLink Field.

Olshey will continue to manage all basketball operations. He will report directly to Allen on basketball operations and collaborate with McGowan on budget and financial matters.

"I'm excited to work with Chris," said Olshey. "I'm impressed with his leadership abilities and look forward to a successful collaborative effort."

McGowan earned his degree in International Relations from the University of Delaware and began his career with AEG in 1996. His success in sales and his strong organizational and team-building skills propelled him up the ranks of AEG. In 2007, he was named Chief Operating Officer of the Kings, where he oversaw the team's business operations and led the team to increased revenue from ticketing, sponsorships, concessions and other areas.

Earlier this year, McGowan was named COO of the newly formed sports division, AEG Sports. In addition to overseeing the Kings and the Los Angeles Galaxy, McGowan assisted with the operations for all of AEG's sports teams around the world.

The Blazers also put out the following statements.

Statement from Tim Leiweke, President and Chief Operating Officer of AEG:

"I have had the good fortune of working closely with Chris and being a part of his career and life for over 20 years. He came to us early on and was part of, not only the vision for STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE, but the Kings and eventually the Galaxy. He has been an important part of everything we do here. He has helped us shape our vision, create our passion and establish AEG as one of the top sports and entertainment organizations in the country. He will certainly be missed, but there are only a handful of these positions in sports, and this is truly a lifetime opportunity for him. With our facility management division operating the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, we look forward to continuing to work with him. We wish him and his family the very best and thank him immensely for everything he has done for the Kings, the Galaxy and AEG."

Statement from Chris McGowan, Trail Blazers new President and Chief Executive Officer:

"Upon my departure, I'd like to thank Phil Anschutz and Tim Leiweke for allowing me to be part of AEG for the past 17 years. The experience that I have gained will be invaluable as I transition to the next phase of my career. AEG is a first class organization and I wish everyone associated with the company nothing but success in the future. I am excited to be joining Paul Allen and his management team, in particular Bert Kolde, Peter McLoughlin and Neil Olshey. I am honored that they have selected me to lead the Trail Blazer's organization. I admire the strength of the Trail Blazer's brand and the passion of their fan base. I am eager to join the staff and continue to build an organization of which the city can be proud. This is an exciting time to be part of the NBA and the Trail Blazers' organization and my family and I are looking forward to relocating to the great city of Portland."

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian has an intro piece on McGowan here with more thoughts from Leiweke.

"He's intense and driven and he wants to win and be successful," Tim Leiweke, president and chief operating officer of AEG, told The Oregonian. "But he does it in a respectful way that is all about bringing people together. Paul Allen is unique because he is so passionate about the Trail Blazers. Chris will love that. He's going to get along very well and work very well with the ownership group."

"I really think Chris is going to do a phenomenal job," Leiweke said. "He's great with fans, ticket holders, sponsors and he's big on communication. He understands brands and the passion and loyalty that comes with them. He hung in there with Kings' fans until they won a cup and he always treated them well. I told him there's nothing more passionate than the Trail Blazers in Portland. There are only a few franchises in professional sports that have that loyalty and passion in a fan base."

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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