Rangers CEO Greenberg leaving organization

It didn’t take long for Chuck Greenberg to become a very visible

figure for the Texas Rangers, buying the team in a dramatic

bankruptcy court showdown and then taking on the role of CEO and

managing partner before the team’s first-ever World Series.

On Friday, seven months after his investment group bought the

team, the AL champion Rangers abruptly announced that Greenberg was

leaving the organization. The move came three weeks before the

season opener.

Growing differences between the charismatic CEO, team president

Nolan Ryan and board co-chairmen Ray Davis and Bob Simpson had been

an ongoing issue out of the public eye.

”In reality, management styles and chemistries sometimes don’t

fit together. That was the situation with Chuck and the board and

Nolan,” Davis said. ”Chuck made a huge contribution and we wish

him all the best success in the world in whatever he endeavors to

do.”

The ownership group has already bought out Greenberg’s small

financial stake in the team. Simpson said Greenberg turned down the

opportunity for another position in the group, one ”not in the

full role that he was enjoying.”

Ryan will add the title of CEO and oversee baseball and business

operations, reporting directly to the team’s board of directors.

The Hall of Fame pitcher, who finished his 27-season playing career

with the Rangers, became their team president in February 2008.

Davis and Simpson, the largest investors in the ownership group,

wouldn’t get into specifics about the differences with Greenberg in

what was their first formal news conference since taking over the

team last year. Neither would Ryan.

”I don’t really think there was an event that created the

separation. I think it was just a combination of philosophies,”

Ryan said. ”It’s like a marriage, you never know. You think things

are going to work. … In business until you really get in there on

a day-to-day basis do you really get a true feel for how it’s going

to work.”

Greenberg didn’t return several messages left by The Associated

Press, but in a statement released earlier by the team indicated

the differences in the ownership group.

”Unfortunately, Nolan Ryan, the co-chairmen and I have somewhat

different styles. While I am disappointed we did not work through

our differences, I remain wholeheartedly committed to doing what’s

right for the franchise,” Greenberg said. ”Together we concluded

it is best for all concerned for me to sell my interest back to

Rangers Baseball Express and move on. I do so with a heavy

heart.”

Greenberg, a Pittsburgh attorney who owns two minor league

baseball teams, recently moved into a new home in North Texas. His

role had been to oversee the business side of the franchise while

Ryan took care of baseball operations.

Greenberg and Ryan were the most visible figures during the

prolonged process of purchasing the Rangers from Tom Hicks. After

entering into exclusive negotiations with Hicks in December 2009,

an initial agreement was reached the following month.

But the acquisition was delayed and ended up in U.S. Bankruptcy

Court. The team’s May filing included a plan to sell to the

investor group led by Greenberg and Ryan, but angry creditors

successfully argued to reopen the bidding.

The messy court fight dragged on for 11 weeks and included an

auction showdown with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban last

August. The Ryan-Greenberg group finally won with a bid valued at

about $590 million.

”Chuck’s determination during an extremely long and complicated

sales process was crucial in delivering a positive outcome for our

ownership group last August,” Ryan said. ”We owe him a great deal

of thanks for those efforts.”

Davis touted Greenberg for putting the ownership group together

and ”spearheading through the bankruptcy process.”

The day after Major League Baseball formally approved the sale,

Greenberg and Ryan announced lower prices for concessions, parking

and merchandise at Rangers Ballpark. When Greenberg wasn’t sitting

in the front row with Ryan through the end of the regular season

and in the playoffs, he was often interacting with fans.

In the weeks after the World Series, which the Rangers lost in

five games to San Francisco, the team added a new chief operating

officer and three vice presidents. They announced the first in a

series of scheduled improvements at the 16-year-old stadium,

including $13 million in video, technology and audio updates for

this season. A new 5,000-square-foot HD screen already sits high

above right field.

The Rangers this winter moved their Triple-A franchise to Round

Rock, Texas, a natural fit because of location and its ownership by

the Ryan family. The franchise’s High-A team was shifted to Myrtle

Beach, S.C., one of Greenberg’s minor league teams and where the

Rangers will play an exhibition game March 29.

Despite his expanded role, Ryan doesn’t expect much of a change

in what he does. He likened it to when he was the team president

during the bankruptcy while Major League Baseball was overseeing

the team.

”I expect to be able to do both with the team of people that we

have in place,” Ryan said. ”I don’t see the business side of it

being run any differently than my approach on the baseball

side.”