Mike Dee is going back to his roots to become president and CEO of the San Diego Padres, returning to baseball after four years as CEO of the Miami Dolphins.
The move was announced Wednesday by Dee and the teams. The Dolphins said Dee would remain with them for "the next several weeks" while he prepares for the transition to his new role and a return to the franchise with whom he started his career as a sports executive in 1995.
"The prospect to return to lead a franchise where I began my career in sports and in a city that means so much to my family is one I couldn't pass up," Dee said. "I will always consider my time with the Miami Dolphins and in South Florida as one of the most rewarding periods in my life and I wish the team the best as I look forward to my new endeavor."
Dee was CEO of the Dolphins and their home Sun Life Stadium since 2009, and his job change comes about two months after the team was denied public money for a stadium upgrade by Florida's Legislature. That decision by lawmakers eliminated any realistic chance that the Dolphins had of playing host to Super Bowl 50 and Super Bowl 51, and South Florida's bids for those games were eventually proven futile.
In a statement released by the Dolphins, owner Stephen Ross — who said he could not foot the entire bill for the planned upgrades — wished Dee well.
"Under Mike, we have broadened our role in the community, improved our technology footprint within the organization and enhanced our customer service to our fans," Ross said. "As a result of Mike's leadership and combined with the hard work of our football operations department, I feel that the organization is well positioned for future success both on and off the field."
There is a certain irony in that Dee is returning to the franchise that got a stadium deal with his help.
He joined the Padres as director of corporate development, then was promoted several times on the way to becoming Senior Vice President of Business Affairs in 2001. During Dee's time in San Diego, the Padres won two division titles, appeared in a World Series and passed a proposition that led to the construction of Petco Park, the team's current home.
"He has the experience, passion and intellect to drive this organization to great success," Padres lead investor Peter Seidler and executive chairman Ron Fowler said in a joint statement. "All of these qualities, combined with his familiarity with our community and his legendary energy, are going to assure exciting times for Padres' fans."
Dee left the Padres in 2002 for a job with the Boston Red Sox, and was president of Fenway Sports Group, the company he created in 2004 to help diversify the team's business interests outside of the baseball club. He remained with the Red Sox before coming to the Dolphins in May 2009.