Jerry Colangelo to step down as CEO of Diamondbacks

Jerry Colangelo will be succeeded as CEO by agent Jeff Moorad effective Dec. 31.
PHOENIX (AP) -- Jerry Colangelo, who brought Arizona a major league baseball franchise in 1998 and a World Series title three years later, is being forced out as chief executive officer of the Diamondbacks, and will be replaced by Jeff Moorad, an agent for several top players.
Colangelo said Friday that disagreements with some of the team's four majority owners about the direction of the franchise caused him to step down, effective Dec. 31.
"Bear in mind that for a lot of years I didn't take any votes regarding whatever I did with the Suns or the Diamondbacks," Colangelo said. "But with restructuring, that kind of changed."
Moorad, who represents Boston's Manny Ramirez and other top players, takes over as chief executive officer on Jan. 1 and as chairman exactly one year later.
A former partner of football agent Leigh Steinberg, Moorad thanked the owners for their faith in him and said he is resigning from his company, Moorad Sports Management.
The decision
Moorad said the decision to have him take over came from Dale Jensen, Mike Chipman, Ken Kendrick and J.C. Royer, who became majority owners two years ago after promising a $99 million, 10-year cash infusion to the team.
Ramirez said he talked to Moorad about the move on Thursday.
"He was so happy it was unbelievable," Ramirez said before Friday's game in Detroit. "I'm really happy for him because he's wanted to do this for a long time. He's been an agent for 20 years, so he's just going to leave another guy in the office in charge. He's going to focus on Arizona."
Because there is a change in control, the shift from Colangelo to Moorad must be approved by major league baseball. And because Moorad has had access to confidential information of the players' association, it could become a complicated change.
Moorad would not be the first agent to make the move. Dennis Gilbert, who represented Jose Canseco and Bobby Bonilla, is currently an executive with the Chicago White Sox.
Trend in hockey
Phoenix Coyotes general manager Mike Barnett, who followed former client Wayne Gretzky into the front office, said agents going into management is a trend in hockey.
"He's represented very, very elite players," Barnett said of Moorad. "He has the experience of knowing what teams have to think and go through.
"Dealing with budgets is a little different than what you do on the players' side, but he's very proven in the baseball business, and I think he's somebody that the community will welcome. "He has a tough act to follow."
Moorad, an agent since 1983, and said the outstanding commissions from contracts he negotiated would revert to the Newport Beach, Calif.-based agency.
The partners' revolt ended Colangelo's reign as Arizona's top sports mogul.
Colangelo said he and the partners disagreed over whether the team should continue to follow a timeline formed when the team started play in 1998, which called for investment in high-priced players over the first four years, then waiting for prospects to develop over the next four.
While the Diamondbacks spent heavily on free agents and beat the New York Yankees in a thrilling seven-game World Series in 2001, they have cut payroll and at 35-75 have the worst record in the major leagues.
Declined to deal Johnson
Last weekend, they declined to deal five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson, who makes $16 million annually.
"There was nothing relative to players at all, nothing relative to managers, nothing at all regarding personnel," Colangelo said. "This was just, you know, some people you don't get along with."
Colangelo, a 64-year-old Chicago native gave up his 20 percent ownership of the NBA's Phoenix Suns on June 30 as part of a $401 million sale of the NBA team to San Diego banking executive Robert Sarver.
Colangelo, who moved to Arizona 36 years ago to become the Suns' general manager, remains chairman and CEO, and his son Bryan Colangelo is the team's president.
Jerry Colangelo plans to step down from his position with the Suns in three years.
Colangelo noted he will also still have responsibilities with the Diamondbacks and major league baseball.
"I'm not going off in the sunset somewhere," he said.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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