A proven executive with a track record of success in business and sports, Tom Garfinkel has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, it was announced today by Dolphins Owner and Managing General Partner Stephen Ross. Garfinkel was selected following an executive search led by RSE Ventures CEO Matt Higgins and Turnkey Sports and Entertainment.
“I’m excited to announce that Tom Garfinkel is our new President and CEO,” said Ross. “As we set out to find the right leader for the organization, we had a specific set of criteria that we felt were critical. Tom has all of the qualities that we said were important in making this hire. Throughout an exhaustive process, Tom simply stood out from what was a great pool of candidates and it became an obvious choice. His intellect, leadership philosophy, and strategic mindset were clear separators. He is the right person because he is a leader with vision and integrity who can take this organization to the next level.”
In his role, Garfinkel will be responsible for all business operations of the Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, including all budget responsibility. Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin will continue to oversee all football operations, reporting directly to Mr. Ross.
“The Miami Dolphins are an iconic franchise with a tremendous history and I’m excited about the opportunity and the responsibility that comes along with it,” added Garfinkel. “One thing became abundantly clear in the process and was an important factor for me was that Steve Ross is committed to building a first-class organization and a consistently winning organization. He possesses the rare combination of tenacity with heart and integrity. In addition, Steve and Matt Higgins are big thinkers who aren’t afraid to invest to grow and to try new things. That’s the kind of stimulating environment that I want to be a part of. The process also afforded me a chance to spend time with Joe Philbin and Jeff Ireland who are clearly passionate, experienced and committed people. I’m excited to work with all of them to help achieve our shared goals together.”
Garfinkel joins the Dolphins after working with the San Diego Padres since 2009. He was named to the post of President and Chief Operating Officer in April 2009 and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in April 2012. During his tenure with the Padres, Garfinkel led an executive team that grew local revenues and attendance, improved and innovated concessions, implemented new wi-fi throughout the ballpark, built a farm system recognized as the best in baseball by espn.com in 2012, and executed a new local TV contract worth over $1.2B. In addition, the team was recognized in a SportsBusiness Journal survey for having the number one ticket sales and service team in baseball in both 2011 and 2012.
Prior to joining the Padres, Garfinkel was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks. During his tenure there, he built a long-term strategic plan for the franchise, led the re-branding of the club and updating of Chase Field and led a team that produced the highest controllable revenues in the franchise’s history in 2008.
Prior to joining the Diamondbacks, Garfinkel spent five years with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams as Executive Vice President, overseeing all business operations of the 400-employee company. He negotiated more than $500 million in sponsorship and driver contracts that resulted in a 280 percent increase of annual company revenue during his tenure. While Garfinkel was at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, the organization won two championships and grew to include three NASCAR Nextel Cup teams, one Busch Series team, two IndyCar teams and one Grand-Am team.
Garfinkel’s background also includes time at Texaco, Inc., where he managed sponsorship and corporate branding, and at Miller Brewing Company in strategic marketing and sales. Garfinkel earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Master of Business Administration from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Quotes on Tom Garfinkel
“Through my years as an owner in Hall of Fame Racing and the San Diego Padres, I had the pleasure of watching Tom Garfinkel operate and manage our organizations. He is a highly capable and talented individual who will be a tremendous asset to the Miami Dolphins’ front office.”
– Troy Aikman, Pro Football Hall of Famer, San Diego Padres Part Owner, Hall of Fame Racing Owner
“Tom Garfinkel is a first rate executive who puts the fans first, surrounds himself with outstanding talent and who, in every instance, has enhanced the professional sports team for whom he has worked.”
– Bob Bowman, Chief Executive Officer of MLB Advanced Media
“Tom Garfinkel is a results-focused leader who understands the value in providing fans with a better stadium experience. He ensured that Petco Park was using the most advanced technologies and that wireless connectivity was optimized and ubiquitous throughout the ballpark for fans to enjoy. We look forward to continue working with Tom in his new role with the Miami Dolphins as we pilot some of our mobile technology offerings in Sun Life Stadium this season, including our Gimbal context and proximity engagement platform which offers new ways for the Dolphins to engage fans on their mobile devices. We will miss Tom in San Diego as he was an influential civic leader who helped people in the local community.”
– Paul Jacobs, Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Qualcomm Incorporated