TORONTO - The search for a new president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment is intensifying, with a decision possible in the next few weeks.
As recently as late August the process of replacing Richard Peddie was delayed as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan was sidetracked by bigger boardroom matters.
MLSEL’s majority shareholder put its 66% control up for bidding and has yet to get a desirable price. But as that remains unresolved, the clock is ticking towards Dec. 31, when the 64-year-old Peddie reaches his negotiated retirement date.
“The search for a new CEO is active and ongoing,” Peddie responded in an e-mail to the Toronto Sun. “And no, there is no chance I am staying beyond Dec 31.”
Peddie leaves after 14 years, during which MLSE’s empire grew to four pro teams, with arenas, real estate and venue management deals that are now valued at more than $1 billion.
A Sun request to have someone on the seven-person board — other than the departing Peddie — comment on the search status was not answered on Friday.
International corporate search firm Korn/Ferry was hired to conduct a search for Peddie’s replacement 10 months ago. The only known development on that front was MLSE COO and executive vice-president Tom Anselmi being identified as the lone internal candidate.
Asked this week about the search heating up, Anselmi declined comment. Though not a member of the board, he’d said earlier that the day to day operations of the company’s crown jewel hockey team should not be affected by what is happening in the tower above the Air Canada Centre.
But it’s believed Leafs’ president and general manager Brian Burke is being cautious, not yet extending the contract of coach Ron Wilson, in part because of the uncertainty of who will be in charge in 2012.