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Tim Leiweke to stay on as MLSE CEO for now

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MLSE admits it has still not found a new CEO.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Two months ago I asked "Why is Tim Leiweke still here?", confounded how MLSE could fail to find a new CEO after seven months while reportedly hiring an executive search firm to identify candidates. It has now been almost nine months since it was announced Leiweke would leave MLSE on June 30. In that time we have heard denials he was leaving, then that MLSE was begging him to stay, and, now, that he will stay; but who knows for how long.

In a press release dumped out at 4:39 PM Friday, a common time for businesses to release bad news in the futile hope no one will notice, MLSE states they have failed to find a new CEO, and that Tim Leiweke has agreed to stay on indefinitely.

This comes despite rampant speculation in the past few weeks, much from reputable media sources like Elliotte Friedman, that the hiring of recently retired Corus CEO John Cassaday was an imminent done deal. It appears that was either never the case, or it all fell through at the very last second.

Whether the compensation issue is true or not, this is certainly another in a string of embarrassments for MLSE regarding Leiweke's departure and replacement.

Here is the text of the press release.

Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE), today announced that in light of its expanding breadth of sports leadership talent, MLSE is now focusing its Chief Executive Officer search on appointing a seasoned business executive to lead the organization forward.

"As we've continued to amass an unparalleled array of sports leaders at both the executive and team level, the Board of Directors agreed to focus our CEO search on the appointment of a strategic business leader able to enhance MLSE's unique collection of world-class assets," said Mr. Tanenbaum.

MLSE also announced that President and CEO Tim Leiweke will continue in his role as the organization conducts its search. "We've made remarkable progress with Tim at the helm, and we are pleased that he has agreed to continue as CEO on an interim basis," said Mr. Tanenbaum.

"It's a privilege to work with the incredible MLSE team, and it's a very positive time to be at the company," said Mr. Leiweke. "We've accomplished great things together. I'm happy to be here as long as I'm needed while the organization works to find the right leader to carry the momentum forward."

MLSE announced on August 21, 2014 that Mr. Leiweke had decided to depart the company on or before June 30, 2015 to pursue new opportunities in the sports and entertainment industry.

What a circus!