Griggs named new president of business ops

July 28th, 2021

SEATTLE -- The Mariners’ extensive search for a new president of business operations has concluded at long last. Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton announced on Tuesday that Catie Griggs has been hired to fill that role and will begin on Aug. 23.

Griggs, who will be introduced Wednesday, spent the past four years as the chief business officer for Atlanta United of Major League Soccer. In her time there, she helped oversee the team’s debut in 2017, and its ascent into one of the most popular franchises in that league and city, one home to some of the most passionate baseball, football and collegiate sports fans. Under her leadership, Atlanta United led MLS in average attendance in every season since debuting in 2017.

Griggs alluded to a parallel opportunity in Seattle, saying in a statement: “The Mariners are a team on the rise, and as that success builds on the field, we have an opportunity to forge even stronger bonds with the community. I will bring a championship mentality to everything the franchise does by focusing on the fans and giving back in meaningful ways. My values align very well with the Mariners' mission, and I am honored to have the opportunity to join this organization at this extraordinary time.”

Griggs fills a role that was newly created as part of a restructured front office after former president and CEO Kevin Mather resigned on Feb. 23. Griggs’ role will not have the same function or title as Mather’s.

Rather, the Mariners have separated their business and baseball operations, a mold that many other clubs have established in recent years. General manager Jerry Dipoto will continue to oversee baseball operations under a separate umbrella. In the previous regime, Dipoto reported to Mather, who reported to Stanton. Dipoto has reported to Stanton since Mather resigned, and he will continue to do so after Griggs begins her new role. In that post, each of the Mariners’ executive vice presidents and senior vice presidents will report to her to form a senior leadership team.

“We had a really impressive group of finalists for this role,” Stanton said in a statement. “Out of that very strong group, Catie set herself apart with her passion, her experience and the perspective she will bring to the Mariners. We are pleased to welcome Catie to her new role and are looking forward to having her and her family join our community and team.”

For Atlanta United, Griggs oversaw all aspects of the club’s front office, including matchday production and operations in and around Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the team's supporter groups and broadcasting. She also directed the team's community relations efforts, overseeing $2.5 million in donations and more than 22,000 volunteer hours in support of community events. She also oversaw efforts to increase the diversity within the club's front office, its efforts in the community and its growing fan base.

Griggs was also a member of the executive leadership team for Arthur Blank, owner of Atlanta United and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and his full family of businesses. In 2019, Atlanta United was named Sports Team of the Year at the Sports Business Awards.

Prior to joining Atlanta United, Griggs was with Futures Sport & Entertainment, a cross-platform global media and sponsorships analytics consultancy that is part of the Interpublic Group of Agencies. She launched the firm’s Americas operations in 2015, and led it to significant growth prior to her departure. She came to Futures Sport & Entertainment after five years at Turner Broadcasting, where she served in various roles, including strategy, business operations, strategic partnerships and business development and media rights negotiations.

In 2017, Griggs was named a Sports Business Journal Game Changer, an annual award that honors women leaders across all aspects of sports business.

A North Carolina native, Griggs received her B.A. in government from Dartmouth College and her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Catie and her husband, Justin, have two children.

Tuesday’s announcement concluded a three-month process overseen by a 12-member panel led by Mariners board member Jeff Raikes that included a diverse pool of candidates.

“Under Jeff's leadership, the committee did a terrific job of defining the key personal and professional attributes we wanted our new president of business operations to possess,” Stanton said. “With their diverse perspectives, the committee created an inclusive process that resulted in a pool of talented potential candidates.”