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Tom Wilson Resigns as Pistons President & Palace CEO

Some of you may have heard by now, and if you read the FanShots you should (thanks, C$ and Big Z in Orlando, for being all over this), Tom Wilson has resigned from his role as Pistons president and The Palace chief executive officer.

Via the official announcement:

Tom Wilson is resigning his position as president and chief executive officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment, Inc. and the Detroit Pistons Basketball Company. Immediately assuming Mr. Wilson's executive roles is Alan Ostfield, currently chief operating officer of the Palace and Pistons.

"I have had the honor to be a part of the Pistons family for the last 32 years, 31 of them working along side Bill Davidson," said Mr. Wilson. "He was a dear friend and partner. I believe that, with Mr. Davidson's unfortunate passing, however, the time is now right for me and my family to explore many exciting opportunities that have come my way recently. With Alan, I leave the Pistons and Palace in very good hands."

Who is Alan Ostfield, you ask?

"Mr. Davidson and I built an organization of talented people and planned for an orderly leadership transition. Alan Ostfield, has been involved in every aspect of our business and helped to make every important decision we've made over the last 10 years. Alan has outstanding experience in all areas of sports franchise management and operations, including strategic planning. Now, Alan is ready to help guide the Pistons' and Palace's future." [...]

[...] 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.

One of the first questions that comes to my mind after a move of this magnitude is "why now?" Are the Pistons getting closer to selling? Does Tom Wilson have interest in working for another NBA franchise? Was that little rumor, within the bigger rumor, that Tom Wilson and Karen Davidson weren't seeing eye-to-eye true and enough was enough?

There's plenty of questions and speculations, and only time will tell, but let's not overlook the success Wilson has brought the Pistons and The Palace over the past three decades, since before I was even born.

During his 32 year tenure, Wilson was lauded as a visionary in the sports and entertainment industry. Under his and Mr. Davidson's leadership, The Palace earned Arena of the Year honors nine times, DTE Energy Music Theatre was the nation's top-attended outdoor venue 19 consecutive years and the Pistons is heralded as one of the best marketed and most highly valued teams in the NBA. The extraordinary staff that Wilson and Davidson built remains intact.

And via Freep:

Under Wilson’s watch, Palace properties became some of the nation’s most successful entertainment venues. DTE Energy Music Theatre, formerly Pine Knob, has regularly placed as the country’s most-attended amphitheater annually, according to trade data.

DTE drew 8.1 million patrons during the ’00s to rank as the decade’s top amphitheater. The Palace, with 7.7 million entertainment patrons, was No. 2 among the nation’s arenas.

We, as Pistons fans, have been very fortunate over the past 30+ years -- going from a dying franchise to one of the NBA's most affluent. We should be very thankful of Mr. Wilson, and I certainly wish Mr. Wilson all the best in his future endeavors.

Other Links:

Detroit News -- With Pistons changing, Tom Wilson knew it was time to go
Freep -- Wilson is first to jump off endangered ship
MLIVE -- Tom Wilson resigns as CEO of Pistons, Palace Sports & Entertainment
FanHouse -- More Upheaval in Motown
Piston Powered -- David Stern Chimes in on Wilson