Panthers CEO leaves team

Updated: March 3, 2014, 6:40 PM ET
Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Michael Yormark resigned as president and CEO of the Florida Panthers on Monday, taking a job with rap mogul Jay Z's Roc Nation and setting off a front-office shake-up for the long-struggling franchise.

Yormark said he has accepted a job as president and chief of branding and strategy for Roc Nation, Jay Z's sports agency. The Panthers promoted Rory Babich into the jobs that Yormark had held with the organization, and announced that general manager Dale Tallon was having his responsibilities expanded to also include business operations.

"While we are sorry to see Michael leave, he has received an offer for a tremendous opportunity and we are fortunate that we will be able to continue working with him in his new role," said Panthers owner Vincent Viola, who bought the team in September. "Rory has been working with us throughout our acquisition of the team and has been partnering with Michael on the business side and Dale on the hockey side since he joined us."

Babich and Tallon also will be alternate governors for the team.

"Dale and I, together, will be partnering on all aspects of our business," Babich said.

Yormark joined Sunrise Sports and Entertainment as its Chief Operating Officer in September 2003, was promoted to president in August 2007 and then to president and CEO of the team and SSE last September.

Yormark said he still believes the Panthers, under Viola's leadership, will get to the level the franchise has sought to reach for years. The Panthers have reached the playoffs only once since 2000, and are well out of postseason contention this year.

"Roc Nation represents a wonderful new adventure for my family and me, and I am thrilled to join an exciting, innovative organization," Yormark said in a statement released Monday afternoon. "Roc Nation is poised to grow in to one of the most influential companies in the industry and I am looking forward to taking on this new challenge."

Babich grew up in the New York area, the son of a sports writer, and said he's loved hockey since childhood. He joined the Panthers after Viola bought the team, and said his role as CEO will simply continue Viola's vision to build a winner in South Florida.

"It's an exciting time for us," Tallon said. "Rory and I have been together since December. We've developed a close relationship in a short period of time. ... We're excited about what we're going to do, how we're going to do this and we're going to work together to bring a Stanley Cup to the Panthers and their fans."

Roc Nation was founded in 2008, and represents major sports stars as Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz and others.


Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

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