February 14, 2018 – Sports and entertainment recruitment firm Turnkey Search has placed Chip Bowers as the Miami Marlins’ president of business operations. He will report directly to Marlins CEO Derek Jeter. Leading the assignment was Len Perna, Turnkey’s president, founder and CEO. It is yet another top leadership post being referred to a boutique specialist.
“Our goal is to operate a first-class organization with first-class individuals,” said Mr. Jeter. “Chip brings an immense breadth of experience, working in outstanding organizations which have achieved success both on and off the field or court of play. He is a proven leader who truly understands community and corporate partnership and client service.”
The franchise was seeking an individual with significant experience and success across all functional areas, both revenue and cost focused, including finance, marketing, sales, information technology, business law and human resources.
Mr. Bowers fits that bill. He was previously chief marketing officer for the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors, with responsibility for overseeing all marketing channels and brand development, corporate partnership sales and services efforts, and broadcasting. During his five-year tenure with the Warriors, the organization was named the SportsBusiness Journal’s Sports Team of the Year in 2014 and 2016, and received a league-high number of honors at NBA Sales and Marketing meetings in three of the last four years.
Mr. Bowers was most recently instrumental in the signing of significant new sponsorship agreements for the Warriors’ new arena, the Chase Center, including naming rights. Before the Warriors, he was senior vice president of corporate partnerships and marketing with the Orlando Magic. Mr. Bowers also spent eight seasons in various roles with the Seattle Supersonics. He began his professional career with the San Diego Padres.
In his role with the Marlins, Mr. Bowers is charged with working collaboratively with ownership, customers and the community to operate the business side of the franchise and the stadium. He will have overall responsibility for the Marlins’ business operations, including: finance, information technology, human resources, sales and marketing, ballpark and retail operations, and corporate partnerships and community outreach.
“I am honored and thrilled to be joining Bruce Sherman, Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins organization,” said Mr. Bowers. “This organization’s leadership and commitment to building sustainable success, with a focus on re-engaging their corporate and community partners, made this a very easy decision.”
Sports & Entertainment Specialists
Established in 1996, Turnkey Search has conducted more than 1,000 executive recruiting placements across the sports & entertainment industry. It recently completed executive searches for the president of the new NHL expansion team in Las Vegas, CFO of the Atlanta Hawks, CRO of the Anaheim Ducks, CMOs of the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, and it placed athletic directors at Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Bowling Green and other Division I institutions.
Turnkey has worked with the Marlins in the past, filling the team’s SVP for ticket sales role when its new stadium was under construction. In addition, Turnkey Intelligence has helped the Marlins with business analytics and customer surveys.
Sports Recruiting Finds Its Own Field of Dreams
Sports teams, from the professional level on down to college athletic programs, all now require a strong professional talent base. It’s not surprising that dozens of search firms compete hard for every plum assignment that surfaces.
During the past 21 years, the recruitment firm has handled more than 100 executive searches in Major League Baseball, including: Boston Red Sox (sponsorship sales), Chicago Cubs (multiple roles including sponsorships, operations, game experience), Los Angeles Dodgers (multiple roles including CEO, CFO, SVP of sales), Milwaukee Brewers (heads of marketing, communications, sales, finance, and other roles), New York Mets (directors of marketing and social media), Tampa Bay Rays (sales, marketing, HR and other roles), Toronto Blue Jays (SVP of business operations) and Washington Nationals (staffed entire organization when the team moved to D.C.).
The sports & entertainment field is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in executive search, with many C-suite-focused recruiting firms being drawn to it. Some specialize only in sports, but all provide sports-related executive search and leadership advisory services. In addition to Turnkey, the firms include: Prodigy Sports, Nolan Partners, CarrSports Consulting, Korn Ferry, Harvard Group International, Marquee Search, DHR International, Hartmann Mason, College Sports Solutions, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds Associates, Diversified Search, Odgers Berndtson, Eastman & Beaudine, Alden Associates, Parker Executive Search, Neinas Sports Services and Collegiate Sports Associates.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media