Reporting David Sutta
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Normally you hear about players being traded or picked up by other teams.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee is leaving to become President and CEO of the San Diego Padres. Dee will replace Tom Garfinkelm who resigned last week.
The San Diego Padres lead Investor, Peter Seidler, and Executive Chairman, Ron Fowler, made the announcement. Dee worked for the Padres from 1995 to 2002 before he joined the Dolphins.
“We are ecstatic to bring Mike back to San Diego as our president and CEO,” said Fowler and Seidler in a joint statement. “He has the experience, passion and intellect to drive this organization to great success. All of these qualities, combined with his familiarity with our community and his legendary energy, are going to assure exciting times for Padres’ fans.”
At 11:51 a.m. Dee tweeted; “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”
Later the Dee issued a statement which in part read:
“I want to thank Steve, all of the members of the Dolphins organization and Dolphins fans I have encountered during the past four years as CEO of the Miami Dolphins. First and foremost, you could not ask for a more supportive and enthusiastic owner than Steve. He believes in running a first-class organization and gives each of us the backing we need to succeed.
“I also want to thank the South Florida community and Dolphin fans everywhere for the support they have given me. We worked hard to develop a strong relationship with our fans and our community, and I appreciate the passion they have for the Dolphins. My experiences with our fans and the members of this community have given me outstanding memories I will always cherish. I would also like to thank Coach Shula, Nat Moore and the hundreds of Dolphins alumni who welcomed me to the organization with open arms and that I shared a unique and special relationship with.”
Unlike with the Dolphins where Dee runs the business side of things and the football operations are run by Jeff Ireland and both report to team owner Stephen Ross, in San Diego he will oversee both the business side of the team and the baseball operations.
“I want to thank Mike Dee for his leadership over the past four years to the Miami Dolphins and wish him the best in his new position with the San Diego Padres,” said Ross in a statement. “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.”
The Dolphins CEO since 2009, Dee helped step up the team’s interaction the community and philanthropy. The Dolphins Cycling Challenge raised over $1 million for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center the past two years. Dee also initiated an annual blood drive that was very successful.
Dee’s departure comes after a rough year for the Miami Dolphins. He orchestrated an ambitious plan to partially public finance an overhaul of Sunlife Stadium. The Dolphins then put millions of dollars on the line to put the plan to a vote.
The plan fell apart in the State Legislature when the house refused to take up the bill that would have allowed the stadium proposal to move forward.
Insiders believe that the stadium proposal fallout played a role in pushing Dee to pursue other opportunities.
“It weighs heavy on all of us. The fact is we didn’t get the job completed,” said lobbyist Ron Book who spent many hours working with Dee, not just on the stadium, but community projects.
“Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA, there are probably 85 or 90 jobs where you can become the head guy, and in this case, he had the opportunity to go back to San Diego—where he started his career,” said Book adding that he believes “that the people of San Diego are going to be enriched off of our loss.”
The club has reportedly hired New Jersey based Turnkey Sports as a headhunter to help in the search for Miami’s next CEO.