Greg Miller will be stepping down as CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, the larger group that controls the Utah Jazz, along with other Utah-based car dealerships, restaurants, movie theaters, and more.
Gail Miller, the wife of the late Larry Miller, will retain ownership of the LHM Group of Companies, but will transition the Group to a new corporate structure involving an “outside board of directors”, according to the press release obtained by the Deseret News. According to that same Deseret News article, Steve Miller will be stepping down out of his role as well as President of Miller Sports Properties.
The news on this one leaked interestingly: key parts of the corporation were told about the news last Friday, before the weekend, though it seems a much larger announcement was made via internal memo inside the company this morning. The first reporting I can find of this was on the BYU fan board CougarBoard at 10:38 AM, though a post on JazzFanz followed 3 minutes later. 15 minutes later, Hans Olsen, who hosts a radio show on team-owned radio station 1280 AM, tweeted the news before quickly deleting it. The Deseret News’ story by Mike Sorenson, featuring the contents of the press release, was released at 11:35 AM, and Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune tweeted confirmation at 11:36 AM.1 The official release was sent out at approximately 12:15 PM.
According to the release, Greg’s role at the LHM Group will be temporarily filled by the LHM Management Corporation, under the direction of Clark Whitworth, its’ president. Presumably, their attention now turns to filling the seats on the “outside board of directors”.
Update: 12:30 PM: Randy Rigby, president of the Utah Jazz, told the Salt Lake Tribune this: “Our reporting from a Jazz end will continue to be the Miller family as it relates to player moves. That will not change at all. Their commitment to the direction of this franchise, they’ve never wavered, and it’s never been better and it will continue to stay as such.” That’s reassuring, though it will be interesting to hear under what roles they would be able to give such advice. Gail remains as owner, but Greg has been the point of contact for the NBA and the Jazz FO, and it’s not clear under what role he could continue to be that representative.
Update: 3:30 PM: Jazz president Randy Rigby released an official statement:
“I can reassure fans that the Jazz are conducting business as usual and that the changes are designed to keep the LHM Group, including the Utah Jazz, intact as a community asset for future generations. We are grateful to Greg for his many contributions in supporting the Jazz, and look forward to him continuing to serve as our Governor on the NBA Board and as an active member of several NBA executive committees. As owners, the Miller family still runs the Jazz and remains engaged and committed to building a championship-caliber team.”
Update: 5:00 PM: By and large, from everyone I talk to, this changes nothing about how the Jazz operate, at least for now. While a board of directors could make changes, the franchise as a whole would be in the vision of the Miller family, especially Gail, who maintains ownership over the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. The Utah Jazz franchise has tremendous symbolic value to the whole suite of companies, essentially all of it would be wasted if the Jazz were to be moved or ran into the ground, as some fans fear. That doesn’t seem at all likely.
More to come.