(Bloomberg) -- Brett Yormark, the top executive behind the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center arena, is stepping down ahead of an impending ownership change at the basketball team, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Yormark will announce on Friday morning that he’s resigning as chief executive officer of BSE Global, the Nets’ parent company, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public yet. His departure comes as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai prepares to assume control of the Nets and Barclays Center from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
Yormark was instrumental in the development of the arena -- and the basketball team’s relocation to Brooklyn from New Jersey in 2012. Since that time, Yormark has presided over all facets of the team and Barclays Center, including operations, events, sales and marketing.
BSE Global has sent an email to employees informing them of a town-hall meeting on Friday, though no specifics have been shared, according to the person. Yormark will stay until the sale to Tsai is complete, the person said.
BSE Global declined to comment on Yormark’s departure or future plans.
As the point person for the Nets relocation and revamp, Yormark led the transformation of the team from a moribund brand to a hip and trendy one. The team finished its first season in Brooklyn in the top five in merchandise sales after finishing last the previous year. And a spot on the squad, 42-40 last season, is now coveted by top players in the NBA.
It makes sense that Yormark would exit along with Prokhorov, whose net worth is $10.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Prokhorov entrusted much of his global sports operation to the executive.
Tsai, whose net worth is $10.3 billion, is nearing completion of a deal to buy the 51% of the Nets he didn’t own. He previously bought 49% at a valuation of $2.3 billion, which is a record for a U.S. pro-sports franchise. He had until 2021 to exercise the option to take control of the club, whose already improved fortunes were buoyed this offseason with the acquisition of star free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
In 2010, Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports & Entertainment paid $223 million for an 80% stake of the team and a 45% share of the arena. In 2015, he consolidated ownership of the team and arena in a deal with real estate developer Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises Inc.
Prokhorov, the first non-North American owner of an NBA team, also controls the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
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