Watters bails on 'Gades

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

The figure head of the Renegades is removing himself from office.

Brad Watters has confirmed to the Sun that he is leaving his position as president and alternate governor of the CFL team to start up a marketing firm in Toronto.

Watters, along with partners Geoff Arnoldi and Jordan Bitove, will officially launch AWB Strategic Branding Company early next month. Bitove is the brother of John Bitove, the former owner of the Toronto Raptors.

Their main office is expected to be located on Blue Jays Way, in the same building as Wayne Gretzky's restaurant.

Watters said he is retaining his stake in the Renegades, a 15% share he co-owns with his father, Bill.

He also said he'll be spending much of the football season in Ottawa, as his company will handle corporate business marketing for the Renegades.

"I will continue to have a large, active role with the team," Watters, who brought together the ownership group that returned football to Ottawa in 2001, said from his family's West Palm Beach, Fla., home yesterday. "More will come out in the future."

WHO'S THE BOSS?

Watters, it's believed, earned a salary in excess of $200,000 running the day-to-day business and serving as spokesman for the franchise. His departure leaves the burning question: Who's the boss now?

"You're going to have to talk to Arash about that," Watters said curiously, referring to Arash Madani, the team's director of media relations and communications. "Or (CEO) John (Lisowski)."

The latter will likely now assume total control of the reins, although last night he could not be reached for comment. Renegades majority owner Randy Gillies was also unavailable.

"Brad's still in charge, he's our president until further notice," said Madani.

Or until there's clarification of the franchise's hierarchy, which should now come sooner rather than later. Watters returns from Florida late next week, at which point the Renegades are expected to make some type of announcement regarding their precarious ownership structure.

Amid the expected denials that media kingpin David Asper had looked, briefly or not, at buying the team, Sun sources were maintaining the authenticity of yesterday's story stating he had, but it's now doubtful the interest is still alive.

"I know nothing about that," said Watters. "There is (ownership) stuff we're still working on."

LATEST TO PART WAYS

While Watters joins former GM Eric Tillman as members of the brass who have parted ways with the team since January, also gone is director of field marketing Chad Richardson.

Meanwhile, Watters insisted the decision to move on was his and did not come from the board.

"It's the right step," said Watters, whose crowning achievement was presiding over a successful Grey Cup in Ottawa last November. "After the Grey Cup, I decided that running the team on a daily basis was not something I wanted to do. I went to ownership and they were very understanding.

"I just look at this as the next step, a chance to build another structure. I wanted to work on more projects, like the Grey Cup. I would have loved to leave (the Renegades) with a championship and a winning record, but that didn't happen."


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