Major League Baseball forced out Bob Bowman, the league’s president of business and media, after “years of troubling workplace behavior,” the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Bowman was pushed out last month over allegations related to his conduct in the workplace that senior MLB execs have known about for at least a decade, according to the report.
Bowman built the MLB Advanced Media division into a streaming-media powerhouse and technology organization over his 17 years with the league. Disney now owns majority control of BAMTech, the unit of MBLAM that provides streaming-video technology and related services for MLB.tv and others, after paying $2.6 billion for a 75% stake.
According to the Journal report, Bowman had engaged in improper behavior including hitting on female employees, berating staffers, fostering a culture of heavy drinking outside the office, and in one case physically shoving a Boston Red Sox exec. In addition, Bowman allegedly hired what were believed to be female escorts for MBLAM’s party at the All-Star Game in July 2016 in San Diego, per the report.
An MLB rep did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Bowman said: “The culture that started at BAM was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility.”
He continued, “This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize.”
Last month, MLB had announced that Bowman would step down at the end of 2017 after his contract expired. “I understand Bob’s desire to step away and respect his decision,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement at the time. “Bob’s vision made our game even more accessible and enjoyable to millions of fans.”
Bowman had been in charge of all revenue-generating and media rights activities across all MLB entities, and also continued to oversee MLB Advanced Media as well as MLB Network. He had originally joined MLB in 2000 as president and CEO of MLBAM.