CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment Alan Ostfield is out

Crain’s Detroit Business:

Alan Ostfield is out as president and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc., the umbrella company that manages the Detroit Pistons and three venues.

"We have made some changes as part of an overall realignment of the business side of the organization. We appreciate Alan’s contributions but have decided to move in another direction," Phil Norment, a partner with new Palace Sports owner Platinum Equity LLC, said in a statement this afternoon.

"The search for a president of business operations will be completed as quickly as possible. PS&E is also looking to expand its sales force and is in the process of hiring additional sales representatives."

Several other employees are thought to have been ousted as well.

Whoa. Tom Gores is making waves.

It doesn’t seem like this is lockout-related. One of my first thoughts was the Pistons are reducing staff while their basketball operations are ceased. But if they’re truly looking for an immediate replacement and more sales representatives, as Norment claims,* that theory goes out the window.

*Just because he says it doesn’t necessarily make it true. People like to hear the Pistons and their sister companies are hiring. It makes them seem vibrant and attractive to potential sponsors and customers.

I’m not saying Norment is misleading the public. I have no idea whether he is or isn’t. I’m just pointing out he has incentive to do so.

Ostfield took over for Tom Wilson, when Wilson left to work for the Red Wings. Here’s part of a Pistons statement at that time:

Alan Ostfield joined the Pistons and Palace in 2000 as senior vice president for legal affairs and assumed his current title as chief operating officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons and as assistant general manager of the Detroit Pistons in 2002. Previously, he was senior vice president and general counsel for the San Diego Padres major league baseball club. A resident of Beverly Hills, Michigan, Mr. Ostfield earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA and JD degrees from Boston University.

"I have the deepest respect for Tom Wilson and the culture of excellence he and Mr. Davidson developed here," said Mr. Ostfield. "Working with Tom has been an extraordinary professional and personal experience, and I am confident the management team we have in place can build on his achievements and momentum. I appreciate Mr. Davidson’s confidence in me as well as ownership’s trust and support as I assume these new responsibilities."

"Alan Ostfield and Tom have functioned as an outstanding senior management team in anticipation of a seamless transition," said Jonathan Aaron, co-personal representative of Mr. Davidson’s estate. "Tom has left his indelible mark on our organization and we want to thank him for his years of exemplary leadership."

We’ll certainly keep an eye on which other Pistons employees the new regime has let go, too.

For better or worse, Gores is making his mark at The Palace.

Update: Alan Ostfield speaks

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Ostfield seemed content and relaxed when reached by the Free Press.

"I knew that when I committed to stay on to get the organization through this transition that this outcome was a distinct possibility," Ostfield said. "This wasn’t about me or one particular person.

"It was all about transitioning this organization on to the next phase from the wonderful ownership of Mr. Davidson. And I accomplished that."

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