Nashville, Tenn. (October 29, 2015) – Nashville Predators Chairman and Governor Thomas Cigarran announced Thursday that Sean Henry will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer and President, effective Dec. 1, 2015. Jeff Cogen who has served as the club’s Chief Executive Officer since Aug. 10, 2010, will be stepping down, pending completion of his oversight on the 2016 NHL All-Star activities.
“Just over five years ago, our ownership group embarked on a search to identify a CEO to lead our organization," said Cigarran. “We were fortunate to attract Jeff Cogen as CEO and Sean Henry as President. In reality, on August 10, 2010, we and they knew we were introducing our CEO of the present and our CEO of the future. Jeff and Sean have spent every day creating and developing the culture both internally and externally that has put this organization on its current upward trajectory. They overhauled and expanded our organization, while reaching out and forming strong partnerships within the community that have elevated us to new levels. The health of the franchise and building have never been stronger—record season ticket sales and marketing partnerships, enhanced broadcast and media rights packages, more building activity than ever before, creation and growth of Ford Ice along with our philanthropic efforts through the Predators Foundation—and the future is even brighter, especially combined with the on-ice product under the direction of General Manager David Poile and Head Coach Peter Laviolette.”
Henry, now in his sixth season with the Nashville Predators, started his tenure alongside Jeff Cogen. Henry has helped lead the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena to their most successful seasons to date – including being named the 2015 IEBA Venue of the Year, as well as Pollstar’s 2014 Arena of the Year award, with an average of 16,900 fans in attendance at Nashville Predators games (98 percent capacity), three sold-out Stanley Cup Playoff contests, the opening of Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tenn., and the extensive development of new and existing sponsorship and premium products.
Henry’s work at 501 Broadway is centered on the organization’s ONE GOAL to be the “No. 1 Sports and Entertainment venue in the United States with a Stanley Cup Champion Nashville Predators as its centerpiece,” something that, with every passing week and month, becomes closer to reality. This quest began with Henry leading a team that forged a partnership with Metro Nashville to secure Bridgestone Arena’s new lease with the city of Nashville, keeping the downtown staple thriving and growing through 2028 and continues through each and every decision the organization makes on a daily basis.
During the summer of 2015, Henry led Bridgestone Arena through a renovation of the entire lower bowl – including new seats, hand rails, signage and flooring. The most recent offseason also saw restrooms and concession stands transform through extensive renovations throughout the building. These latest renovations come on the heels of the opening of the Nissan SoBro entrance, Tavern ’96, the Predators Team Store and the Lexus Lounge – all a part of the organization’s plan to make the Bridgestone Arena experience for every guest, player, performer, musician, fan and employee that walks through its doors the best it possibly can be.
Henry’s work with the city of Nashville and the Nashville Predators Foundation has been extensive. The Foundation’s grants and programs funded more than $1 million in programs and donations to over 400 local organization in the 2014-15 season and the organization’s Hearts of Gold program infused the area with more than 6,000 community service hours donated by employees, players and staff. All of which create a special workplace environment while also changing lives throughout Middle Tennessee.
Cogen has spent the past 30 years in the sports and entertainment industry, including the past five seasons with the Nashville Predators. Under his leadership, the club saw ticket revenue increases while maintaining one of the lowest average ticket prices in the NHL. Attendance in the 2014-15 season grew from previous years’ record performance with 30 sold-out regular-season home games (ended the season with 12 consecutive sellout crowds), sold out all three postseason contests and averaged nearly 16,900 fans per game - more than 98 percent capacity.
Cogen was also instrumental in the development of Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tenn., which opened in August 2014. The facility is part of an ongoing public/private partnership with Metro Nashville to promote healthy lifestyles for Middle Tennessee residents and continue increasing participation in youth and amateur hockey. He was also integral in Nashville being named as the host of the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in January. The local organizing committee is working to create an environment with unique activities to create a “Nashville feel” for one of the NHL’s signature events. The NHL All-Star Weekend will create a significant economic impact for Middle Tennessee.
“On behalf of our ownership group, staff and fans, we are sincerely grateful to Jeff for his passion, expertise and leadership over the past five years. That being said, today is the day we take a step forward in our evolution with the seamless and planned transition as Sean Henry assumes the role of CEO and President. Sean has a strong executive leadership team in place that includes Executive VP/General Counsel and CFO Michelle Kennedy, Senior VP/Corporate Development, Broadcast and Entertainment Chris Junghans, Senior VP/Booking David Kells and Senior VP/Ticket Sales and Amateur Hockey Nat Harden. This leadership team will build upon and further develop the sound foundation Sean and Jeff have created. We have so much to look forward to—CMA Awards, 2016 NHL All-Star, future SEC Tournaments as well as the ongoing schedule of concerts and family shows, growth of Ford Ice and, of course, our quest for the Stanley Cup,” said Cigarran.