Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Michael Frisdahl leaving as head of MLSE – News Concerns

Interim replacement Cynthia Devine is the first woman to hold such a title since the Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens were founded more than 90 years ago.

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There will be a turnaround at the helm of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s billion-dollar empire.

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It was announced on Tuesday that Michael Frisdahl, MLSE’s president and CEO, from December 2015, would be departing in six weeks to join Signature Aviation as executive chairman. Friisdahl took over the MLSE position from Tim Leeveke, who had hired Masai Ujiri to be in charge of Raptors basketball and Brendan Shanahan to run the Maple Leafs, with Friisdahl keeping the same arm’s length approach. He let the leaders of the high-profile franchises run. His own show.

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MLSE’s stable includes soccer’s TFC, farm teams for the Leafs and Raptors, and the recently acquired CFL Argonauts. Frisdahl oversaw the Raptors winning an NBA title in 2019, but a Stanley Cup over the past 54 years continues to oust the Leafs.

MLSE’s Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Devine, a Toronto native, has been named interim for Frisdahl’s position while the company begins its search for a new chairman and CEO.

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Devine is the first woman to hold such a title since the founding of the Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens 90 years ago, a lineage that includes Conn Smyth and Harold Ballard. A member of the MLSE board since 2017, she was CFO of RioCan Real Estate and Tim Hortons Inc., holding senior executive positions at Maple Leaf Foods and Pepsi-Cola Canada. and was twice named in the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.

Cynthia Devine was pictured in 2006 during her tenure with Tim Hortons.  postmedia file photo
Cynthia Devine was pictured in 2006 during her tenure with Tim Hortons. postmedia file photo

The MLSE is valued somewhere between $1.5 and $1.7 billion.

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“Michael’s leadership over the past six years has been incredibly important as the organization navigates through the challenges of managing the high level of our successes and the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years,” said MLSE President Larry Tanenbaum said, in a release.

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“Through all this, Michael raised the bar in every area of ​​MLSE’s operations, and most importantly ensured that the organization prioritized our leadership role in the community, including helping our city and its citizens recover from the pandemic. impressive ways to help. I thank Michael for his many contributions to MLSE and wish him the best of luck in this next chapter.

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Friisdahl worked in the travel and hospitality industries, including serving as the President and CEO of Air Canada Leisure Travel Group, prior to joining MLSE.

“Leading this organization has been the highlight of my career,” he said in a release. “I am extremely proud of the achievements of the organization and the commitment shown by MLSE employees every day, but especially during the challenges of the last two years.”

Signature Aviation is a leader in private aviation terminals and fixed base operations services.

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