Just hours after announcing the exit of Team President Frank Coonelly, the Pirates have reportedly identified new leadership. Travis Williams, former Chief Operating Officer for the crosstown Pittsburgh Penguins, will be named as Pittsburgh’s new prez within the next week, per a report from Jason Mackey of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (link).
Williams has been working as the President of Business Operations for the NHL’s New York Islanders since last November, following eleven years spent working in the Penguins organization (including eight as the club’s COO). According to the Penguins’ website, Williams was chiefly involved with the oversight of “day-to-day business and arena operations”; Mackey indicates that the Pirates organization might expect their new President to focus more on similarly business-centric concerns, which would mark something of a departure from Coonelly’s active hand in day-to-day baseball operations.
Interestingly, Williams’ professional profile with the Penguins also included work as the team’s liaison with building manager (and entertainment monolith) AEG. Williams’ strong background in arena development and event operations could have been viewed as an asset in the eyes of Pirates owner Bob Nutting, who was reportedly dissatisfied with declining attendance under Coonelly’s watch.
Before entering the professional sports industry, Williams was partner at global law firm Reed Smith LLP. The Indianapolis native holds degrees from both Penn State and Duquesne. Mackey suspects that the team will withhold an announcement on Williams’ hiring until Monday.