The NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers have announced the hiring of Chris McGowan as their new President and Chief Executive Officer.
McGowan, once named one of the top sports executives under 40, will be leaving his long-time role with AEG – parent company to the LA Kings. He recently has served as Chief Operating Officer of AEG Sports after working his way up through the ranks over the past 16 years.
“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.”
“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.”
Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG added, “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.”
McGowan, who will He will assume his new position on November 12, 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.
He was also instrumental in events like Frozen Fury and the Kings HockeyFest, launched in 2009.
“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.”
There’s no word yet on how AEG will handle his departure, especially considering the company is up for sale at the moment.
Personally, we wish McGowan nothing but success. He’s been one of the truly great guys we’ve had the pleasure of dealing with through the years. He will be sorely missed in the LA sports landscape.