Just one season removed from helping bring San Francisco its first World Series championship, Bill Neukom is on his way out as Giants managing general partner and CEO.
After reports surfaced Wednesday that Neukom was being forced out over disagreements with the team’s ownership executive committee, the Giants issued a statement saying the former Microsoft lawyer would be retiring Dec. 31.
“The Giants have been planning for a transition in which Managing General Partner and CEO Bill Neukom will retire from his position effective December 31, 2011,” the statement said. “Mr. Neukom will serve as Chairman Emeritus in 2012.”
Team president Larry Baer will succeed Neukom as CEO. Baer and Neukom are expected to make an official announcement at a news conference today.
“I don’t think shock is too strong a word,” said Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News, who broke the initial story of Neukom's leaving due to disagreements with the team's executive committee.
In an interview with KNBR radio on Wednesday evening regarding the departure of Neukom, Purdy added, “I spent last week touching bases with people to make sure it was real. Pro sports operate in strange ways."
The 67-year-old Neukom took over as the organization’s managing general partner October 2008, stepping in for the retired Peter Magowan, who spent 17 years in the Giants’ top ownership position.
When Neukom was introduced to the public as the team’s new boss, much was made of his idea called the “Giants Way,” an outline of how to build a successful organization on and off the field. To that end, many think he was successful with last year’s World Series championship.
Until the Giants captured the franchise's first World Series title since moving West in 1958, Neukom had been best known for more than two decades of work as a Microsoft attorney and as a president of the American Bar Association. He served as top counsel for Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates.
According to reports, Neukom sparred with the team’s executive ownership committee over the influx of revenue that came after the team won the World Series. Neukom was under the impression the money was his to spend, but the committee thought it should be consulted, reports said.
Wire reports contributed to this story.
- Age: 67
- Family: Married, four children
- Education: San Mateo High School, Dartmouth College (bachelor of arts, 1964; served on board of trustees, 1996-2007), Stanford University (law degree, 1967)
- Background: Executive vice president of law and corporate affairs, Microsoft Corp. (1985-2001); became a member of Giants ownership group (1995); elevated to Giants general partner (2003); president of American Bar Association (2007-08); named Giants managing general partner (Oct. 1, 2008)
- Top achievements with Giants: Team won World Series championship in 2010, its first since moving to San Francisco in 1958; team named Organization of the Year in 2010; dynamic-pricing system created for seats; “Giants Way” implemented to foster culture of hard work, collaboration and ingenuity; contract extensions given to manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean