Tod Leiweke is Tampa Bay Lightning's new CEO and gets minor ownership stake
As expected, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced Monday that Tod Leiweke, the former chief executive officer of the NFL's Seahawks, is the new CEO of the Lightning and St. Pete Times Forum. What was unexpected is that Leiweke was given a minority ownership stake in the team, subject to the approval of the National Hockey League Board of Governors.
That does not change the status of Jeff Vinik, who remains, by far, the majority owner. It does, however, show how much Vinik wanted Leiweke on board. After all, Leiweke apparently rebuffed Vinik's first attempts to recruit him back in March.
Here is the announcement from the team with the details:
Tod Leiweke has been named Chief Executive Officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment and its subsidiaries, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum, Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik announced this afternoon. Leiweke will also become an Alternate Governor to the National Hockey League’s Board of Governors for the Lightning and, subject to approval by the NHL, will acquire an ownership stake in Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment.
Leiweke comes to Tampa Bay from Seattle, where he has served the past seven years as CEO of the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks and President of Vulcan Sports, providing oversight of the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers and Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders.
“I am thrilled to welcome Tod to the Lightning organization as CEO and as my partner,” Vinik said upon making the announcement. “Tod has the vision, the passion and the experience to lead the franchise towards my goal of being world class on and off the ice. He is an inspirational leader and I am delighted he has shown the confidence in the entire Tampa Bay community to join the Lightning.”
Leiweke has extensive experience in the NHL, having served as Executive Vice President of the Vancouver Canucks and President of the then-expansion Minnesota Wild. Tod is a devoted hockey fan and has been recently competing in a Seattle-based recreational league.
"Jeff Vinik is a fantastic person and clearly committed to building a championship franchise,” said Leiweke. “I am thrilled to become a part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. It is a dream come true to partner with Jeff and work alongside Steve Yzerman, who I regard as one of the modern-day greats of our game.
“Jeff, Steve and I all believe that we can build a Lightning organization that will bring back the winning and pride to the entire Tampa Bay community. I envision a day when the Lightning will regularly play in front of sold-out crowds at the St. Pete Times Forum and be recognized as one of the leading corporate citizens in Tampa Bay.”