SBJ/March 3 - 9, 2008/Forty Under 40

Derrick Hall

When most sports team executives begin their jobs, they focus first on fan and sponsor experience, looking to build public good will quickly with the club's key clientele and revenue sources.

Derrick Hall
Age: 39
Title: President
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Education: B.S., broadcast journalism, Arizona State University; M.S., sports administration, Ohio University
Family: Wife, Amy; sons Logan (12) and Hayden (9); daughter Kylie (6)
Career: Joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1992, ultimately becoming director of public relations; named senior vice president of communications for the Dodgers in December 1999; joined KB Home in 2004; named senior VP of communications for the Diamondbacks in May 2005; named to current position in September 2006.
Last vacation: Spent a quiet week in the snow in our mountain home in Northern Arizona
Last book read: “Marley & Me,” by John Grogan
Last movie seen: “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”
What’s on your iPod? Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin
Pet peeve: Exiting the restroom without washing your hands
Greatest achievement: Being named Arizona “Father of the Year” in 2007
Greatest disappointment: Not beating the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 NLCS
Executive you most admire: My father
Fantasy job: Professional golfer

Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall ventured on a very different course.

Hall instead started with fixing the club's internal culture. Despite becoming the most successful expansion franchise in MLB history, the Diamondbacks were in dire need of a refreshing by the middle of this decade. The club had rung up significant amounts of debt, attendance fell by more than a third since winning the 2001 World Series title, and local fan buzz was eroding severely amid a series of losing seasons.

So Hall implemented a broad program to re-energize the Diamondbacks staff, with measures that included regular working lunches with small groups of employees to brainstorm ideas, staff outings, a rewriting of the club's overall mission statement, and on-field recognition of top employees during games.

"It's not necessarily the normal way of doing things, but I was absolutely convinced that we couldn't go back out to the market, be who we wanted to be, and do what we needed to do without addressing all the internal issues," Hall said. "We need to re-collect ourselves to a common purpose, and we've done that."

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