Jeff Moorad resigned as chief executive officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks to pursue ownership of the San Diego Padres.
The team promoted team president Derrick Hall to chief executive officer, Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick said Friday.
Moorad will maintain his share of Diamondbacks ownership but would have to sell that if his effort to purchase the Padres is successful, Kendrick said.
Kendrick would not reveal what share of the team Moorad owns but said "it is not an insignificant amount."
Moorad's development of a group to purchase the Padres had reached the point when Major League Baseball rules required him to leave his job with Arizona, Kendrick said.
"I can confirm that Jeff has resigned and is interested in the Padres," San Diego owner John Moores wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Two weeks ago, Moores said he had hired Goldman Sachs to search for a potential buyer as he goes through a divorce with his wife, Becky.
"Goldman will look at offers and make recommendations," Moores said in a Dec. 15 e-mail to the AP. "I have been told that, because these are difficult economic times, I should be prepared for a wide range of interest and offers."
The Moores reportedly own 90 percent of the Padres. Community property laws in California give Becky Moores a 50 percent share of that asset and she must agree to any sale.
Moorad was a formidable agent who represented several major sports figures, including baseball's Manny Ramirez and Eric Karros, before he purchased a share of the Diamondbacks in 2004. His connection as an agent concerned many other owners, so Kendrick continued to serve as managing partner, representing the team in league ownership issues.
However, Kendrick said those concerns have been erased by Moorad's performance since assuming his CEO position with the Diamondbacks.
"Jeff has established himself through the years with us and I think Major League Baseball, from discussions I've had with them directly, would be comfortable with him controlling an ownership group with another club," Kendrick said.
Moorad is a UCLA graduate with a law degree from Villanova. He lived in southern California before moving to the Arizona suburb of Paradise Valley with his wife and three sons. Kendrick said a return to California figured largely in Moorad's desire to try to purchase the Padres.
"I think he has roots that are very deep in southern California," Kendrick said. "To get an opportunity in San Diego is exactly on point for the family in terms of that element of their lives."
Moorad lured many of the current top Diamondbacks officials, including Hall and general manager Josh Byrnes, to their jobs in Arizona. Hall joined the team in May 2005 as senior vice president, communications. Marketing-related issues were added to Hall's responsibilities in December 2005. He was promoted to president on Sept. 6, 2006, and will retain that title in addition to his new CEO position.
Hall called his promotion "bittersweet" because of his long relationship with Moorad, but added that he looked forward to the challenges of his new position.
AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.
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