The Seattle Mariners new President & Chief Operating Officer is Kevin Mather, who was promoted from his position as the organization's Executive Vice President of Finance and Ballpark Operations. The new Chairman of the Board of NW Sports Net LLC (the regional sports network ROOT SPORTS Northwest) is Bob Aylward, who will retain his responsibilities as the club's Executive Vice President of Business Operations. Mariners Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln announced the decision of the Mariners Board of Directors to promote Mather and Aylward this morning.
Chuck Armstrong, who had served in both roles, announced his retirement last November and will complete his tenure on January 31. Armstrong was Mariners President & COO from 1983-1989 and 1992 to the present, and has chaired the Board of Directors of NW Sports Net LLC since the Mariners acquired majority interest in the regional sports network last April.
"Kevin and Bob have been very valuable executives of the Mariners. They are both extremely talented, experienced and well-qualified to lead our organization into the future. There will be a seamless transition as Chuck begins his retirement one week from today," said Lincoln. Both will report directly to Lincoln.
Lincoln continued, "Kevin will serve as President & Chief Operating Officer of the Mariners. His experience in the game of baseball has prepared him well for this position. He is highly thought of around Major League Baseball and in this community. He will work closely with me to make sure Jack Zduriencik has the resources he needs to build winning teams. Jack remains the leader of the baseball side of our organization."
Lincoln added, "The Mariners own a majority stake in ROOT Sports Northwest, an extremely important part of our franchise's future. Bob was instrumental in the Mariners acquisition of the regional sports network and will lead the network into the future. He will continue in his position as the Mariners EVP of Business Operations, and he is one of the very best in baseball."
Mather, 51, has an impressive track record in his 25 years in Major League Baseball. He joined the Mariners in July 1996 as Vice President of Finance and Administration. When the Mariners were reorganized after the 1999 season after moving from the Kingdome to Safeco Field, he was promoted to his current position of EVP, Finance and Ballpark Operations. Mather has been responsible for the Mariners financial and ticket services, retail operations, procurement, technology services, concessions and day-to-day operations of Safeco Field.
"Our fans, first and foremost, are our focus, and we understand what they want most - a championship team. I am looking forward to supporting Jack Zduriencik, as he continues to lead the baseball operation and builds the Mariners both for 2014 and for future seasons. At the same time, our commitment to this community and this region will remain a top priority. This is a tremendous opportunity, and I'm excited about the Mariners future," said Mather.
Before joining the Mariners, Mather was the Vice President of Finance for the Minnesota Twins for four and a half years. He started with the Twins as director of finance in 1989 before his promotion to vice president in 1992. Prior to his tenure with the Twins, Mather worked in Minneapolis with the CPA firm of Deloitte, Haskins & Sells for four years and with The Bellfonte Company for one year.
A native of Madison, WI, Mather is a 1984 graduate of the University of Wisconsin where he received his B.A. degree in accounting and risk/insurance. He serves on the Board of Junior Achievement of Washington. He resides in Issaquah with his wife Shannon. They have three sons: J.P., David and Steven.
Aylward, 60, joined the Mariners in 1997 as Vice President of Business and Sales. After overseeing all business aspects of the transition from the Kingdome to Safeco Field, he was promoted to Executive Vice President, Business Operations in December 1999. He has been a driving force in the organization, leading the Mariners efforts in corporate sponsorships, advertising and ticket sales, marketing, broadcasting and communications.
"I love the game of baseball, this community and Mariners Baseball. The club's business operations and ROOT SPORTS are integral to the future of the franchise, and I appreciate the opportunity to direct both groups," said Aylward, a native of Pace, Mississippi. He grew during his 17 years with the Orioles, beginning in 1976 through the ranks to Vice President of Business Affairs (1985-1994). While with the Orioles, Aylward spearheaded the design, construction and move to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1993, which started the movement to retro ballparks in Major League Baseball.
After 17 seasons with the Orioles, Aylward was named Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, where he began their business operation from scratch (1995-1997), prior to their inaugural season 1998. At the same time, he served as President of a company that specialized in services to sports teams and radio-TV entities as well as new facility design.
Aylward currently serves in a leadership role on Major League Baseball's Commissioner's Ticket Review Committee. He is also President of the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization Global Health Nexus, and is on the Board of the Washington Global Health Alliance. Aylward was a member of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Executive Council and Finance Committee. He was also active in creation of the Seattle Sports Commission.
Aylward is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and attended Ohio University's graduate program for sports administration. He and his wife Elizabeth live on Mercer Island. They have two grown daughters, Laura and Caitlin.