We finally have a buyer for the Erie SeaWolves (Class AA; Eastern League): Fernando Aguirre, a minority investor in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High Class A; Carolina League) and the Cincinnati Reds.
The sale by Mandalay Baseball Properties, which has owned the team since 2003, has been approved by the Eastern League, Minor League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball have all approved the sale. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Aguirre’s background: He spent a large part of his professional career with Proctor & Gamble Company in a broad range of global leadership positions before joining Chiquita Brands International as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2004. Aguirre held the role for almost nine years before leaving his corporate career to become an entrepreneur.
“We’re delighted to have reached an agreement with Fernando,” said Art Matin, CEO of Mandalay Baseball Properties. “He has a passion for baseball and business, and it’s clear the franchise is in very capable hands. We’re very thankful for the support of our fans, sponsors, and community partners over the past 11 years.”
“This is a very exciting opportunity and my third and most important investment in the business of baseball,” said Aguirre, who recently became the second largest owner and vice chairman of the Pelicans. “I look forward to working with the dedicated front office staff to enhance the fan experience and the team’s impact in the community. I’m also eager to work with the team’s many outstanding partners including the Detroit Tigers and Erie Events.”
Erie SeaWolves President Greg Coleman will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the franchise under Aguirre. Coleman joined the SeaWolves and Mandalay Baseball Properties in 2011.
“We are excited to open a new chapter in SeaWolves history,” Coleman said. “Fernando brings a remarkable set of experiences and relationships to the team and the Erie community. This will be a seamless transition for our employees, sponsors and fans while positioning the SeaWolves to flourish in the years ahead.”
A native of Mexico City, Aguirre attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on a baseball scholarship. He was an infielder for three seasons and pitched his senior season for the Cougars. Aguirre earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business in 1980 from SIUE. He also attended the prestigious YPO Harvard President’s seminar for 10 years, earning Harvard Business School graduate status in 2009. In 2010, Aguirre became the first Hispanic leader to appear on the CBS program Undercover Boss. Aguirre is married to his wife Citlali of 29 years and the couple has two adult sons, Franco and Fabrizio. He and his family became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2009. Aguirre is also very active on Twitter and can be found @FdoAguirreCEO.
Aguirre has been heavily involved in corporate governance with past service on the board of directors of Univision, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Levi Strauss & Company, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He currently serves on the board of directors of Aetna (a Fortune 100 provider of health care products), Barry Callebaut (the largest producer of chocolate and cocoa in the world), and Coveris (a privately owned global manufacturer of flexible packaging). Aguirre is also a board member of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics (COLE) and serves on the board of advisors of the Bechtler Museum in Charlotte, N,C.