Peter A. Luukko, an ally and partner of Flyers founder Ed Snider for more than a quarter-century, resigned as president and chief operating officer at Comcast-Spectacor, a major operator of sports stadiums and owner of the Flyers.
The company has 10,100 employees nationwide and the resignation came as a surprise inside the organization and the stadium-management industry.
With Luukko's departure, Comcast Corp. - the majority owner of Comcast-Spectacor since the mid-1990s - tightened its grip on the entrepreneurial subsidiary in South Philadelphia.
Luukko will be replaced by retired Comcast executive vice president Dave Scott, a former top official in its cable division who was responsible for financial planning and strategy, procurement, accounting, and the legal group. Scott's title is acting president of Comcast-Spectacor.
A second Comcast executive, Gary Rostick, was appointed the new chief financial officer at Comcast-Spectacor. Rostick had been chief financial officer of Comcast's fast-growing business services division.
Comcast-Spectacor's former CFO, Russ Chandler, is no longer with the company.
Comcast owns the majority of the equity in Comcast-Spectacor, though company chairman Ed Snider has retained a 25 percent interest and is the venture's managing partner.
The Luukko and Chandler departures were unconnected, Snider said in a phone interview Monday.
Chandler "was gone some time ago and they are not related in any way, shape or form," he said.
Luukko's decision to retire was entirely his own. "He owns a chunk of the company and apparently had a talk with himself and decided to cash in his chips," Snider said.
In a statement, Snider called Luukko "an invaluable partner as we built Comcast-Spectacor."
Luukko owns 5 percent in several Comcast-Spectacor subsidiaries: the ticketing operation, the Global Spectrum stadium-management operation, and the food services business.
Luukko's cashing out will not change Snider's 25 percent stake in Comcast-Spectacor, he said. "What [Luukko] does has nothing to do with me," Snider said.
Luukko could not be immediately reached for comment.
"I want to thank Ed for the opportunities that he has given me to help build Comcast-Spectacor over the past 25 years," Luukko said in a statement. "We have had a wonderful partnership, building a great company with a terrific management team. Now, I have decided that it is time for me to take advantage of the equity I have built up at Comcast-Spectacor and pursue other entrepreneurial interests."
Snider brought Luukko to Philadelphia from the West Coast to help build the Corestates Center, now the Wells Fargo Center.
"Peter will be hard to replace," Snider said, adding that the "company will move forward and we will be OK."
There were no other executive changes, spokesman Ike Richman said Monday. Comcast-Spectacor businesses, in addition to food service, ticketing, and stadium management, include Flyers Skate Zone and Front Row Marketing.
A Comcast-Spectacor organizational chart, available in recent months, showed Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren reporting to Luukko. Snider, who launched the Flyers as an expansion franchise in the 1960s, said Holmgren now will report directly to him.