09/15/2011 2:13 PM ET
Bill Neukom to Retire from the Giants
Team President and COO Larry Baer to Become CEO
Giants Managing General Partner and CEO William H. Neukom announced today that he intends to retire at the end of the year. Giants President and Chief Operating Officer Laurence M. Baer will assume Mr. Neukom's duties and succeed him as CEO effective January 1, 2012. Neukom will serve as Chairman Emeritus through 2012.
This transition is subject to a series of approvals, including by Major League Baseball.
"I have been a Giants fan my entire life. It has been a privilege to lead the organization and to work with a talented group of individuals, who are devoted to its success on and off the field," said Neukom. "Together we have accomplished a number of objectives -- returning to winning baseball, instituting professional management systems, integrating the baseball and business operations, creating powerful attendance and revenue momentum and, of course bringing a World Championship to San Francisco. In sum, the state of the Giants is stronger than ever. The Giants front office is the best in baseball and under Larry's leadership it will certainly continue to deliver on our commitment to winning."
In addition to his emeritus status, Neukom, who will turn 70 in November, plans to focus his attention on the World Justice Project, a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative he founded in 2006 to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. He also plans to teach at Stanford Law School, his alma mater.
"The Giants organization and its fans are forever indebted to Bill for his leadership," said Baer. "I am honored to follow in the footsteps of two great leaders who have devoted themselves to making this franchise the best in professional sports. Since this ownership group purchased the team in 1992, we have been fortunate to have remarkable continuity in the group and the front office. As we approach nearly 130 years of Giants baseball, we remain committed as always to winning baseball, delivering to our fans the best experience in baseball and serving our community."
A fourth generation San Franciscan, Baer, 54, has gained a national reputation as one of professional sports' leading visionaries. A limited partner of the Giants' ownership group, he was named team president October 1, 2008, replacing Peter Magowan in this role upon his retirement.
After having served as executive vice president since December 1992, Baer was named chief operating officer of the franchise in May 1996. In that same year, he was named president of the China Basin Ballpark Corporation (CBBC), a private entity formed by Giants investors to finance and build the new ballpark, which opened in April 2000. Under his direction, the Giants opened Pacific Bell Park to widespread acclaim and sold 3,244,320 tickets, shattering the all-time club attendance record by more than 650,000.
Baer is responsible for the overall day-to-day functioning of the Giants organization, both on the business and baseball sides of the operation. A key leader in assembling the new ownership group and negotiating the 1992 sale which kept the Giants in San Francisco, he has been a key strategist and negotiator of the club's major transactions since that time. He was also a driving force in the Giants' partnership with Comcast on the new regional sports network, which debuted in 2008.
After earning Phi Beta Kappa honors at the University of California in 1980, Baer joined the Giants as the club's marketing director. In 1983, he left the Giants to attend Harvard Business School, followed by a four-year tenure at Westinghouse Broadcasting in San Francisco and New York. He finally returned to the Giants in December 1992 from CBS, Inc. in New York, where he had served as special assistant to the network's chairman, Laurence Tisch.
Baer serves on the Board of Major League Baseball Enterprises, which oversees national television and radio contract negotiations, national sponsorship and licensing programs as well as the overall marketing of the industry.
Baer is a member of the Board of Directors of KQED, Inc., the San Francisco Committee on Jobs, the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco and the Bay Area Council.