Tom Garfinkel, who has served as a high-level executive for two Major League Baseball teams but has never worked in the NFL, will be the Miami Dolphins’ new president and chief executive officer, industry sources said Sunday.
An announcement is expected Monday.
Coincidentally, Garfinkel and his Dolphins predecessor, Mike Dee, ended up filling each other’s most recent jobs. Dee left the Dolphins last month to become president and CEO of the San Diego Padres — the jobs Garfinkel held until he and the Padres new ownership group parted ways July 9.
Garfinkel will oversee the Dolphins’ business operations and figures to be heavily involved in Ross’ continued efforts to procure funding for renovations to Sun Life Stadium. He will be responsible for the organization’s overall budget but will not be involved in player selection.
Coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland will continue to report to owner Stephen Ross. The Dolphins, who considered more than 75 candidates for the CEO job, were impressed by Garfinkel’s intelligence, skills as a negotiator and knowledge of technology, among other things.
Garfinkel served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2006 to 2009 and then accompanied the man who hired him in Arizona, former agent Jeff Moorad, to San Diego, when Moorad signed an agreement to purchase the Padres on a layaway program that ultimately fell apart.
In San Diego, Garfinkel and the Padres ownership group reportedly had philosophical differences, which led to his departure. Before breaking into baseball, he spent five years as executive vice president of Chip Ganassi Racing, a motorsports organization.
He was considered accessible as Padres president and had a regular presence on social media. Among his accomplishments with the Padres: He helped negotiate a 20-year, $1 billion TV contract with Fox; oversaw changes to Petco Park, such as shortening the outfield fences; brought concerts, international soccer and other events to the ballpark; and outfitted Little League teams throughout the country in Padres uniforms.
Padres manager Bud Black called Garfinkel “very visible, very progressive, very creative. He was very visible around the ballpark and very active with the fan base. Tom was always asking what he could do for the club and players. He worked tremendously hard.”
Garfinkel grew up in Walnut Creek, Cal., graduated from Colorado and then attended the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at Michigan, named after the Dolphins owner, who donated $200 million to the university last week.