When Jeff Raikes was a part of the 19-member search committee to find a new president of Stanford University in 2016, the group used a baseball metaphor to describe the process to finding the proper candidate.

So when asked personally by Mariners chairman John Stanton to lead the search for the Mariners’ new president of business operations, Raikes felt it was only appropriate to follow that same metaphor.  

“It was the nine innings of a presidential search,” he said. “And that’s basically the model I’m using here.”

Raikes, a member of the Mariners ownership group and the chairman of the board of trustees at Stanford, met with local media in the press-box suite of T-Mobile Park before Friday’s game against the Houston Astros to provide an update on the process to replace Kevin Mather, who resigned in February.

“John has given the search committee the opportunity to really spend the time for us to dig in, meet with a wide range of stakeholders, learn what we need to learn in order to form the leadership attributes for the president of operations and then do the search,” Raikes said. “I’m grateful that he’s taking that approach because I think it’s an extremely important.”

The process is in the early innings of the metaphor.

“The first inning you establish the charter of the committee,” he said. “The second inning you assemble the search committee and the support for the search committee. In the third inning you get into the discovery process.”


Raikes just wrapped up his second inning of work by finalizing the members of a 12-person search committee, which the team announced as well.

It features Raikes and Stanton, another member of the ownership group, five Mariners employees and four people outside the organization but with ties to the community.

Besides Raikes and Stanton, the other committee members are:

  • Betsy Pepper Larson, ownership group
  • Dan Wilson, Mariners special assistant to player development
  • Charles Johnson, Mariners vice president corporate partnerships
  • Monica Marmolejo, Mariners controller
  • Kevin Martinez, Mariners senior vice president marketing & communications
  • Juan Rodriguez, Mariners director of ballpark
  • Martha Choe, longtime Seattle business leaders
  • Eric Pettigrew, Seattle Kraken, vice president of government relations & outreach
  • Devon Pritchard, Nintendo of America executive vice president business affairs
  • Eddie Poplawski, President/CEO Barclay’s Realty & Management

“Devon Pritchard, when I was talking to her, she said for their first child, their son, they debated about whether to name the son, Jack, after the grandfather or Griffey,” Raikes said. “That’s the kind of people I wanted on the committee, people who love the Mariners because this organization is a community asset, and it’s very important that we have that spirit in the committee, so every one of the people on this committee is a superfan.”

The committee of superfans will begin the third inning, which is a discovery process of about five weeks.

It will meet with “stakeholders” in the Mariners, who are employees from all aspects of the organization. It will meet with community and business leaders. It will meet with leadership from other sports organizations in the area and across the country. Raikes mentioned talking with Steve Ballmer, who owns the Clippers.

“Frankly what most businesses do is they just get a search firm and they go out and find somebody,” Raikes said. “What happens when you do that is you miss out on some of this opportunity for us to really hear from our stakeholders and build that persona of what will be a great leader for this organization.”


But the committee will also bring in the search/recruitment firm Protégé Partners. The company is led by Rory Verrett.

“It’s a firm that really excels at supporting inclusive search processes,” Raikes said. “The firm and Rory really focus in on values based leadership that has a track record of building diverse candidate pools. He’s worked in the NFL. He had executive search-firm experience prior to that and then Roger Goodell bought him into the NFL, to lead their diversity work and then later on he started his own firm. It’s a firm led by an African American with a majority of people of color on the staff. And I think, Rory is special. I think he’s very much aligned with the aspirations that we have run a very inclusive process.”

And the other innings?

“Once you get through the third inning,” he said. “You really have that clarity of what are the leadership attributes that we’re looking for. That’s when you get into starting to do prospecting and research and evaluation and interviews. So, those are those are kind of like innings four through seven, then the eighth inning is working with John and the board on the selection and the ninth inning we’ll be introducing the leader to the organization, and then to all of you. And there might be some extra innings in there.”

Vaccination time?

Mariners manager Scott Servais was happy to report he received his second vaccine shot early Friday morning and said he felt no side effects from it.

“It’s really important for people to do the right thing and not just take care of yourself, but everybody else around you,” he said. “We saw what happened to the Astros club, and I think it’s just so important that people take it serious. Yesterday, for example, I wore a mask from 7:30 a.m. till I got in my car at the ballpark at 11 p.m. That’s a long day. It’s something that hopefully we can get our team up to speed here and get vaccinated at a certain rate. So maybe some of the COVID protocols that we deal with when we travel can get relaxed a little bit, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Servais said the team hasn’t set up any sort of vaccination clinics for players. And the team can’t force it upon players. But he hopes they can get something set up soon.

“We’re working through that,” he said. “I think the perfect time to do it is maybe when you have a day game with an off day after that. So if there are any side effects or whatever guys are good to go. There’s going to be opportunity here maybe at the end of this homestand. We’ll continue to educate our players on the importance of it. It is safe and it’s just the right thing to do.”