Howard Eskin and John Gonzalez are both reporting that Adam Aron is, in fact, out as Sixers CEO. He will remain with the team as a part owner [UPDATE: Apparently, he increased his ownership stake.] and assist Joshua Harris in a role that is TBD (presumably, he won’t be the social media coordinator… that job was given to a kid the Sixers threatened to sue).
His replacement – and I’m still confused as to why the Sixers are so hell-bent on using the more businessy term, CEO, as opposed to the more common sports term, President – will be Scott O’Neil, who was the President of MSG Sports and the Knicks until last September. A Villanova grad (swoon), O’Neil had also served as the Eagles’ VP of Ticket Sales a few years back.
This isn’t surprising, even though news of Aron’s demise had previously been exaggerated. The Sixers, however, have done a very poor job of handling it. They first kept quiet and then denied reports that Aron was fired. Aron did the same. Then there was some confusion as to whether he was fired, just out as CEO, or remaining in his position altogether. Now we learn – barring some sort of weird denial from the team – that he’ll still be a part owner and, apparently, have some token role. But it looks like he’ll no longer be making any more important decisions about mascots, confetti, lights, cats and bunnies. And that’s probably a good thing.
UPDATE: Aron will remain on the team’s board of directors, but he will now become the CEO of a new investment fund backed by some of the really rich people who own the Sixers: [AP]
Aron will become chairman and CEO of a new investment fund backed my some members of the Sixers ownership group.
“I could have remained in position as CEO of the 76ers, but this is what I wanted to do,” he said. “It was always in my mind to see what I could be doing next with the owners of the Sixers from Day 1. If anything, I accelerated the timetable to move on when the opportunity became real to move on in this new investment role.”
I don’t believe that statement for a second.