People on the move: Golden State Warriors, Inter Miami and more

The Golden State Warriors NBA basketball team has announced that president and chief operating officer Rick Welts will retire from his role at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Welts, the SBA20 Executive of the Year Award winner, joined the Warriors in 2011. He has spent a total of 46 seasons working in the NBA, with previous spells at the Seattle SuperSonics and Phoenix Suns.

Under Welts’ stewardship, the Warriors have enjoyed success on and off the court, winning three NBA Championships in 2015, 2017 and 2018 before moving to the new Chase Center arena in September 2019. In 2011, Welts became the highest-ranking executive in men’s professional team sports to publicly acknowledge he was gay.

Welts began working as a ballboy with the SuperSonics in 1969 at the age of 16 before becoming the team’s public relations director. He spent 17 years with the NBA league office in New York from 1982-99, holding a number of roles before becoming executive vice-president, chief marketing officer and president of NBA Properties. He worked at the Suns from 2002-11, with his roles including president and chief executive.

Welts said: “This has been the ride of a lifetime. To have had a front row seat to the growth of the NBA from where it was in the late 1960s to its place today as one of the most respected and successful leagues in sports on a global stage has been an incredible privilege.

“The first day I met Joe Lacob (Warriors co-executive chairman and chief executive) and Peter Guber (co-executive chairman), I wanted to be a part of building what I knew could be a special organisation. We have the most talented staff in the industry, and we are poised for even greater success in the future. Personally, I am excited for my own next chapter.

“When Joe, Peter and I agreed on the timing of this announcement two years ago, we didn’t have a pandemic on our radar screen. As it turns out, now that we can look forward to welcoming fans back safely to Chase Center, and we have a realistic hope for a return to ‘business as usual’ for next season, this timing feels perfect.”

Welts will remain associated with the Warriors as an advisor and the team expected to name a new president within the next week.

Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami has appointed Xavier Asensi as its new chief business officer.

Asensi joins Inter Miami after 10 years with Spanish LaLiga club Barcelona, where he most recently served as chief commercial officer and also held a position on the team’s executive board.

Asensi is currently pending receipt of authorisation to work in the US and will lead front office business operations and commercial strategies when he joins Inter Miami. He will report directly to Jorge Mas, managing owner of the franchise, which debuted in MLS last year.

Gérard Neveu, chief executive of the World Endurance Championship, has joined Motorsport Games, a leading racing game developer, publisher and esports specialist, in a motorsports advisory role.

Neveu has spent 10 years as chief executive of the WEC. In his new role, he will act as a link between Motorsport Games, the world’s leading motorsport series and the wider motorsport industry.

Neveu will hold responsibility for developing, enhancing and executing projects and agreements between Motorsport Games’ esports business and the motorsport industry.

Baseball Australia (BA) has announced the appointment of former Major League Baseball (MLB) player Glenn Williams as its new chief executive officer.

Williams, once of the Minnesota Twins, steps into the CEO role in replacement of Cam Vale, who announced his departure from the organisation in January.

“Glenn needs little introduction across the baseball community in Australia, whether as part of the silver medal team at the Athens Olympics or signing for the Atlanta Braves as a 16-year-old prospect before reaching the Major League in 2005,” said Hynes, Baseball Australia president.

Do you have news of an appointment that we should know about? Get in touch by emailing news.editor@thestadiumbusiness.com and we’ll include it in our next round-up.

Welts image: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International/Edited for size