Longtime Hornets executive Fred Whitfield departing organization

Hornets executive Fred Whitfield

‘The time has come for me to step away and focus on my health and my family,’ Whitfield said in a statement.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Fred Whitfield, president and executive vice president of the Charlotte Hornets, is stepping down from his post for health reasons and leaving the organization after more than 17 years running the team’s operations.

“Over the past 18 months, I have successfully battled a serious case of throat cancer,” the 65-year-old Whitfield said in a statement released by the team. “I have also focused on supporting my mother, who has health issues of her own.”

Whitfield joined then-minority owner Michael Jordan’s Bobcats in July 2006 and served as president and chief operating officer for 12 years before being promoted.

He oversaw the organization’s growth, including the name change from Bobcats back to Hornets in 2014, the rebranding of the Spectrum Center in 2016, and the launch of the Greensboro Swarm in the NBA G League. The organization also secured renovations and a lease extension for the Spectrum Center and entered into long-term agreements with Ticketmaster as the arena’s ticketing provider and with Live Nation for entertainment booking.


Under Whitfield, the team also signed a TV broadcast deal with FOX Sports.

Under Whitfield, the Spectrum Center hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, the 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, and the Jumpman Invitational featuring the North Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida, and Michigan basketball teams.

“We thank Fred for all he has done for our organization and for the role he has played in getting our ownership group up to speed in recent months,” Hornets co-owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin said in a statement. “His experience, knowledge, and relationships in the industry, league, and community have been invaluable to our franchise. We appreciate his hard work and dedication and wish him all the best.”

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