Kennedy to replace Lucchino as Red Sox president
BOSTON -- Larry Lucchino's impactful run as president/CEO of the Red Sox will come to an end following the 2015 season.
In a statement released on Sunday morning, Lucchino said that he would stay with the club in a new role, and that Sam Kennedy, who grew up just a couple of miles from Fenway Park in Brookline, Mass., will be the team's next president.
"I believe the end of this year is a good time for this change," Lucchino said in the statement. "We would have preferred to announce all of our transition plans at once, including my new role, but I can tell you we all feel strongly that Sam Kennedy, who has been with me for 20 years, should be the next president of the Boston Red Sox. Sam will do a terrific job. He is able, well-prepared, and fiercely dedicated to the Red Sox and to Boston.
"I have been blessed to have outstanding partners, and I plan to continue working with John [Henry], Tom [Werner], Mike [Gordon], Sam, and all of our partners in meeting the challenges that lie ahead for the Red Sox."
The Red Sox haven't made a decision yet on how the CEO role will be filled.
Lucchino has been the Red Sox president/CEO since the club was sold to a group led by Henry on Feb. 27, 2002.
Kennedy has also been a vital member of the Red Sox since the new ownership took over more than 13 years ago, and he is currently the club's COO.
"It's an amazing feeling. ... I'm ready to lead this organization," Kennedy said during a televised interview with NESN. "We have big challenges in front of us, and I stand ready to meet those challenges. Again, I've learned from the very best. We've got amazing ownership to give us all the resources we need to get done what we need to get done. It's going to be a big challenge. I'm ready for it. I love this city, I love the town."
As with his predecessor, Kennedy will assume control over the day-to-day operations of the franchise, which he expects to begin doing gradually once the season ends. While Lucchino was involved with roster construction, however, Kennedy emphasized that he will leave the baseball operations decisions to the experts.
Kennedy's local roots have him excited and thankful for his new position.
"I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan, the Red Sox are in my blood," Kennedy said. "I feel that this is what I was put on Earth to do. Extremely grateful to John and Tom for the confidence in me. To Larry for 20 years of mentorship, it's been a great, great 20 years with Larry. We're going through the transition now. He's not going anywhere. He's going to be around. He's been so helpful to me and all my colleagues."
Along with principal owner Henry and chairman Werner, Lucchino has been part of an ownership group that has helped lead the Red Sox to unprecedented heights on and off the field. After not winning a World Series between 1919-2003, Boston won it all in 2004, '07 and '13.
Lucchino has long been heralded for spearheading the dramatic renovation of Fenway Park, including the installation of the popular Monster Seats back in 2003.
"He's clearly been a main player in an unprecedented run of success here in Boston," manager John Farrell said. "That will carry on, not just in World Series trophies, but tangible things here with additions to Fenway and the renovation plans and programs that this park went through. But I think still the thing that will stand out most is the interactions that you had with him frequently, whether it was here at home, or in Spring Training. Just a driving force behind being the best that we could be."
It was an area of expertise for Lucchino, who oversaw the development of Camden Yards in 1992. Lucchino also played a significant role in the Padres getting Petco Park, which opened in 2004, a couple of years after he left the club.
One thing that has kept Lucchino busy of late is trying to get a new ballpark built for the club's Triple-A affiliate, which could be moving from Pawtucket, R.I., to Providence.
Lucchino was part of a 10-person group that bought the Pawtucket Red Sox back in February.
There was speculation last winter that Lucchino's power within the organization was lessening, but Henry and Werner were both emphatic in denying that was the case.
Farrell echoed those sentiments.
"I wouldn't say he was less involved," Farrell said. "There's a number of people that are involved whether it comes to selecting players, how we go about our daily work. With the addition of the Pawtucket situation, there was probably more involvement on his end there. But I can't say he was less involved here."
However, Lucchino, who turns 70 in September, was candid a few months ago in saying that he didn't know how much longer he would keep up the pace he'd been working at for so many years.
"I have now been president/CEO of the Red Sox for 14 years. I love the Red Sox, I love Fenway Park, and I love Boston. It's my home. It's never easy to leave a job you love, but I look forward to the next chapters," Lucchino said in the statement.