1. Fertitta promotes diversity with Houston Rockets President of Operations hire
When long-time Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown announced that he was stepping down, it became clear that Fertitta would have his work cut out for him as it pertained to identifying Brown’s replacement, as Brown developed relationships with the Rockets star players in the past, with Harden even referring to him as a father figure.
At the time of Brown’s announcement, he stated that the Rockets had a succession plan in place and he and Fertitta first began discussing it over the 2020 holidays. On Wednesday it was announced who the Rockets were turning to for Brown’s vacant position of President of Basketball Operations, as long-time Rockets executive Gretchen Sheirr was announced as Brown’s replacement.
The move was a promotion for Sheirr, who had been with the franchise since 2001 and rose through the ranks. Sheirr went from the Senior Director of Ticket Sales to Vice President of Sales and Service to Chief Revenue Officer to Chief Operating Officer, which was her most recent post prior to Wednesday’s promotion.
The move makes Sheirr just the fourth woman to hold a top business position throughout the entire NBA. The promotion was also a wise hire on the part of Fertitta, who explained the rationale behind the decision.
“As soon as I began working with Gretchen, I was immediately impressed by her knowledge, her innovation and her leadership. With Gretchen having been part of the Houston Rockets success for two decades, I couldn’t be more excited to see her get this opportunity.
Her work ethic, attention to detail and passion for the Rockets gives me great confidence in her ability to perform at the highest level.”
Sheirr, the Houston native, is well-respected and expressed her appreciation towards the Fertitta family for the opportunity.
“First, I’d like to thank Tilman, Patrick, and the entire Fertitta Family for their guidance and support, and of course, their trust to help steward the Rockets brand for the city of the Houston. To have this opportunity, in your hometown, for your childhood team, is a dream come true.”
Considering the plethora of experience that Sheirr has with the Rockets and in her field, there’s no doubt that she’s beyond qualified for the role. But that doesn’t always land opportunities for women particularly, as they oftentimes face barriers and road blocks, and especially in a male-dominated industry like the NBA.
For this reason, Fertitta deserves credit for not only hiring the right person for the job, but perhaps the most qualified person in Sheirr. This means that Fertitta’s three most recent hires have all been diversity and/or minority candidates, as Stone and Silas are both African-American and Sheirr is a female.
Kudos to Fertitta for giving the well-deserved opportunity to someone like Sheirr, who has earned her way to this position and/or role.
Although Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has become a punching bag in past years, it’s time to give him credit for the decisions he’s made in past calendar year.