EDMONTON - Richard L. Andersen has stepped down as the president and CEO of Northlands.
Andersen said the decision to leave Northlands "was not an easy one."
"I have greatly enjoyed my time and experiences here in Edmonton, however I feel the timing is right for me to now move on to a new opportunity. I want to underscore how proud I am to have been part of this great organization and to also have benefited from building so many wonderful friendships within the community," said Andersen.
"During my time here and through our team's collective efforts, I believe we have well-positioned Northlands for the future and I am confident the leadership team will make this time of transition a seamless one for all parties."
Andersen joined the organization in August 2010. Prior to his role at Northlands, he was the general manager of PETCO Park in San Diego and the executive vice president of the San Diego Padres.
Coun. Ed Gibbons, who serves on the Northlands board of directors, said a North America-wide search will be launched to find a replacement.
"I'm sorry to lose Richard but he's done a lot. It's a crucial time for Northlands right now," Gibbons said.
The Northlands governance board has been whittled down from 47 members to 20 during Andersen's tenure, he said.
Negotiations between Northlands and the city will continue over the future use of the Rexall Place land, with a new downtown arena set to open in 2016.
Mayor Don Iveson said Andersen's departure should not impact daily operations at Northlands.
"There's a strong board there and a strong staff, so I think day-to-day operations will be unaffected," he said.
"There are some crossroads coming up for them, so this is an opportunity for them to think a little bit about where Northlands goes next."
Northlands Board of Directors chairwoman Laura Gadowsky said Andersen strengthened the organization in his time as president and CEO.
"On behalf of the Northlands Board of Directors, we would like to thank Richard for his commitment to Northlands over the last three-and-half years. As Richard moves into the next phase of his life, we wish him only the best," said Gadowsky.
"During his time here, Richard has been an instrumental part of strengthening Northlands. We will capitalize on this momentum as we continue making Northlands the sports and entertainment destination in the region."
In the interim, the board of directors has asked Sharilee Fossum, Northlands Chief Financial Officer and vice-president of Corporate Services to act as President and CEO.
Northlands is a not-for-profit community service organization boasting three venues over 166 acres. It is the site of Rexall Place, the Edmonton EXPO Centre and Northlands Park.
By Kevin Maimann, reprinted with permission by www.edmontonsun.com