Co-Chairman & Governor
Rick Schnall serves as Co-Chairman & Governor of the Charlotte Hornets and Hornets Sports & Entertainment. Along with Gabe Plotkin, Schnall led the group that purchased the Hornets from Michael Jordan in August 2023. Prior to purchasing the Hornets, Schnall had been a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks and an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2015. Schnall is co-president of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, where he has worked for 27 years. He is a member of the Investment and Executive committees. Schnall is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a Board Member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Zeta Charter Schools and the CD&R Foundation. He and his wife, Susie, have three sons and will split their time between New York and Charlotte.
Co-Chairman & Alternate Governor
Gabe Plotkin serves as Co-Chairman & Alternate Governor of the Charlotte Hornets and Hornets Sports & Entertainment. Plotkin, along with Rick Schnall, led a group in purchasing the majority share of the Hornets from Michael Jordan on August 3, 2023. He originally acquired a minority stake in the franchise in 2019 and has been an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since that time. Plotkin founded Tallwoods Capital LLC in 2022 and serves as the firm’s Chief Investment Officer. Tallwoods Capital is a family office that focuses on long-term investments, primarily in the equity markets. Previously, Plotkin was the CIO and founder of Melvin Capital from 2014-2022, a long/short hedge fund with a focus on consumer and technology stocks. Prior to Melvin Capital, Plotkin was a prominent trader at SAC Capital from 2006-2014. Plotkin graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University with a BA in Economics. Currently, he serves on the board of Children of Fallen Patriots. Plotkin resides in Miami Beach, Fla., along with his wife and four children.
An NBA legend, Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2009. As a player, Jordan virtually rewrote the record book. He played 13 seasons for the Chicago Bulls, leading the league in scoring a record 10 times. His 30.1 points per game average is the highest in NBA history and, with 32,292 points, he ranks fifth on the all-time scoring list. Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championship titles and was named NBA Finals MVP during each of those series. A five-time regular season MVP, in 1991 and 1992, he became the only player to win back-to-back regular season and Finals MVP awards. In March 2010, Jordan became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, after four years as part of the team’s ownership group and its Managing Member of Basketball Operations. Jordan was the first former player to become the majority owner of an NBA franchise. Under his direction, the team changed its name to the Charlotte Hornets prior to the 2014-15 season, bringing the historic moniker back to its fans and the city. In July 2023, Jordan sold his majority stake in the Hornets to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, while retaining a minority share in the franchise. Jordan burst onto the national stage as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, leading his team to the NCAA Championship with a dramatic game-winning shot. Following a stellar college career during which he was a two-time College Player of the Year and first team All-America, Jordan was chosen with the third pick of the 1984 NBA Draft. Jordan is a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, most famously as a member of the 1992’s “Dream Team.” After a brief stint as an owner and executive with the Washington Wizards in 2000-01, Jordan returned to the court as a player for the team for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons before retiring. Off the court, Jordan is a successful businessman, investor and philanthropist. Since its creation, his Jordan Brand (a division of NIKE) has been an innovator of athletic shoes and apparel. The Jordan Brand has grown to become a market leader under Jordan’s creative design input. As one of the world’s most popular and recognizable figures, Jordan’s endorsement portfolio includes 2K, Gatorade and Upper Deck, among others. His other business ventures include several thriving restaurants. Jordan also serves as a special advisor to the Board of Directors of DraftKings and Sportradar. Along with his friend, three-time Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin, Jordan launched a NASCAR team, 23XI Racing, in the fall of 2020. 23XI Racing made its NASCAR Cup Series debut at the Daytona 500 in February 2021. Jordan strongly believes in giving back to the community. He has long supported many charitable causes that provide opportunities for at-risk youth, help kids with disabilities and illnesses and teach and mentor children. In 2017, Jordan donated $7 million to fund two Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics in Charlotte. The clinics have provided critical health care services to more than 5,000 patients and have been an important access point for COVID-19 vaccination, testing, treatment and education. Jordan made an additional gift of $10 million in early 2020 for two medical clinics in his hometown, Wilmington, North Carolina that are scheduled to open in 2022. Jordan has served as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008 and has been a wish granter for the organization for more than 30 years. In addition, he is a supporter of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the University of North Carolina and the James R. Jordan Boys and Girls Club in Chicago, as well as other organizations. Jordan is also a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. In 2020, he, along with Jordan Brand, announced their 10-year, $100 million Black Community Commitment initiative, dedicated to addressing systemic racism and improving outcomes for Black Americans. In 2016, Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama. Jordan and his wife, Yvette, have two daughters, Victoria and Ysabel. He also has three children, Jeffrey, Marcus and Jasmine, from a previous marriage.
Executive Committee Member & Rotating Alternate Governor
Dave Novak serves as an Executive Committee Member and rotating Alternate Governor of the Charlotte Hornets and Hornets Sports & Entertainment. He was part of the ownership group that purchased the franchise in August 2023. Novak is co-president of private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, and is based in London. He joined the firm in 1997 and is a member of the firm’s Executive and Investment committees. David currently is a member of the Amherst College Board of Trustees, and on the Board of the Valerie Fund, which supports children with cancer and blood disorders. He is also an Advisor to Ahren Innovation Capital, a member to the Investment Board of Cambridge University and was the former Chair of the Board of the American School in London. Novak holds a BA in Economics from Amherst College and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
Executive Committee Member & Rotating Alternate Governor
Chris Shumway serves as an Executive Committee Member and a rotating Alternate Governor of the Charlotte Hornets and Hornets Sports & Entertainment. He was part of the ownership group that purchased the franchise in August 2023. Shumway is an investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist and is the Founder of Shumway Capital where he oversees the firm’s long-term investments in a wide range of growth businesses. Prior to Shumway Capital, he was a Senior Managing Director at Tiger Management where he led media investments among other areas. Shumway graduated from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. Shumway and his wife, Carrie, established The Shumway Foundation in 2006 which works to break the cycle of poverty through better opportunities in education. They have three children and live in Palm Beach, Florida.
President & Vice Chairman
A talented sports executive with experience as a player, coach, agent, sports marketer and basketball operations administrator, Fred Whitfield is President & Vice Chairman of Hornets Sports & Entertainment, a title he assumed in March 2018, after having served as President & Chief Operating Officer since joining what was then Bobcats Sports & Entertainment in July 2006. In this role, Whitfield oversees all business operations for the organization - which owns the Charlotte Hornets, the Greensboro Swarm and Hornets Venom GT and operates Spectrum Center - including the Hornets’ name change from Charlotte Bobcats in the summer of 2014, the arena’s rebranding in the summer of 2016 following naming rights partner Time Warner Cable’s merger with Charter Communications and the launch of both the Swarm in the NBA G League in 2016 and Hornets Venom GT in the NBA 2K League in 2020. Since coming to Charlotte, Whitfield has overseen dramatic growth throughout the organization. In recent years, he has led Spectrum Center’s efforts to secure the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament and 2020 Republican National Convention, as well as the Jumpman Invitational that debuted at the arena in December 2022 and the return of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament action in 2024. Additional accomplishments during his tenure with the organization include securing a total of more than $300 million in funding for Spectrum Center renovations and a performance center, reaching long-term agreements with Ticketmaster to serve as the arena’s ticketing provider and Live Nation to book entertainment, hosting the 2012 Democratic National Convention and simultaneously signing an arena naming rights deal with Time Warner Cable and a television broadcast rights deal with FOX Sports. Whitfield joined the organization from Jordan Brand, where he managed endorsements and sports marketing strategy as Director of Business and Legal Affairs from 2004-06. From 2000-03, he was Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Legal Counsel for the Washington Wizards, where he was responsible for salary cap administration, contract negotiations and overseeing player scouting. Prior to the Wizards, Whitfield served as Director of Player Development for Nike Basketball, where he was responsible for scouting potential endorsers, negotiating endorsement contracts and overseeing business and marketing strategies for more than 150 NBA players. His career in sports began in 1992 as a player agent representing professional athletes with Falk Associates Management Enterprises (F.A.M.E.) as Director of the Carolinas Region, based in Greensboro. Before joining F.A.M.E., Whitfield established and managed a successful law practice in Greensboro. Whitfield is the founder of HoopTee Charities, Inc, a North Carolina-based nonprofit corporation whose mission is to provide scholarships for disadvantaged youngsters to attend camps and educational based programs across the country, and the Achievements Unlimited Basketball School, which has served more than 15,000 kids in Greensboro and Charlotte over the last 38 years. In 2023, Whitfield received the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Charlotte Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO Awards, after having been recognized each year since the awards began in 2018. In 2019, he received the prestigious Citizen of the Carolinas Award from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, as well as the UNC Charlotte Distinguished Service Award. Whitfield was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2018, received the Charlotte Chamber Economic Growth Champion Award in 2017 and has been selected to Business North Carolina’s Power List every year since 2018. He currently serves on the Executive Committees of the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, the Charlotte Sports Foundation and the Foundation for the Carolinas, and is also a member of the Governor’s NC Business Council of Management and Development and the Campbell University Board of Trustees. Whitfield earned a BBA degree in economics and played basketball at Campbell University, receiving All-South and team MVP honors as a senior. He went on to complete his MBA at Campbell while serving as an assistant coach for the Camels and was inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. He later earned a Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University School of Law, where he was Student Bar Association President. Whitfield and his wife, Mary, reside in Charlotte.
President of Basketball Operations & General Manager
A 10-time NBA Champion as a player and executive, Mitch Kupchak was named President of Basketball Operations & General Manager of the Charlotte Hornets on April 8, 2018. In this role, Kupchak oversees all aspects of the team’s basketball operations, including personnel decisions, salary cap management, contract negotiations, draft preparations and scouting of professional, collegiate and international players. Kupchak has more than 30 years of experience as an NBA executive with the Hornets and the Los Angeles Lakers. He has led the Hornets front office for the last five seasons. Since arriving in Charlotte, Kupchak has overhauled the Hornets roster around athletic, versatile and skilled players in an effort to build a young, talented core that can advance in the NBA Playoffs. Kupchak has emphasized the importance of building through the NBA Draft, which has resulted in the Hornets acquiring impact players. He selected 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball as well as acquiring Miles Bridges, PJ Washington and Mark Williams in the first round of the NBA draft. Under Kupchak’s leadership, the Hornets have been successful in selecting second-round draft picks that have made an impact, including players such as Cody Martin, Bryce McGowens and Nick Richards. Kupchak has bolstered the roster with a combination of trades and strategic utilization of salary cap space, resulting in opportunistic free agent signings. Charlotte made a splash during the 2020 offseason by signing former NBA All-Star Gordon Hayward. In 2019, the team acquired Terry Rozier in a sign-and-trade with Boston during the offseason. Through these roster moves, and several others, Kupchak has added talented and experienced veterans to the team’s young core. With Los Angeles, Kupchak spent 17 seasons as the team’s lead basketball executive. He joined the front office as assistant general manager immediately after retiring as a player in 1986 and worked under a pair of Hall-of-Famers: legendary NBA executive Jerry West and Bill Sharman, the first person to win a championship as a player, coach and executive. Kupchak was promoted to general manager in 1994 and served as the team’s lead basketball executive from 2000-2017, during which the Lakers won four NBA Championships and six Western Conference Championships, posting a 747-607 (.552) regular season record and a 111-66 record (.627) in the postseason. The 13th overall pick in the 1976 NBA Draft, Kupchak spent 10 seasons in the NBA with the Washington Bullets and the Lakers, averaging 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in 510 regular-season games. He earned First Team All-Rookie honors in 1976-77 after averaging 10.4 points and 6.0 rebounds and ranking second in the NBA in field goal percentage at .572 behind only league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The following season he averaged career highs of 15.9 points and 6.9 rebounds as the Bullets won the 1977-78 NBA Championship. After five seasons in Washington, Kupchak was traded to the Lakers prior to the 1981-82 NBA Championship season. He averaged 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in his first 26 games in Los Angeles before suffering multiple severe injuries to his left knee on December 19, 1981, that caused him to miss the remainder of the season and the entire 1982-83 campaign. Despite two major operations and the expectation that he would likely never play again, Kupchak returned to action on November 25, 1983, more than 23 months after the injury. He went on to play another two seasons after that, helping the Lakers to the 1984-85 NBA Championship, before retiring in 1986. Kupchak played collegiately at the University of North Carolina, where he was the first freshman to play varsity basketball after the freshman eligibility rules changed prior to the 1972-73 season. In 119 career games, he averaged 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting .586 from the field. Kupchak earned First Team All-ACC honors and All-ACC Tournament Team honors in both 1974-75 and 1975-76. As a junior, he averaged a career-high 18.5 points and 10.8 rebounds, and ranked eighth in the NCAA with a field goal percentage of .602. As a senior in 1975-76, he was named ACC Player of the Year and was a Consensus Second Team All-American after averaging 17.6 points on .576 shooting from the field and 11.3 rebounds. Kupchak, who currently ranks fifth in school history with 44 career double-doubles and eighth in both career field goal percentage (.589) and career rebounds (1,006), had his No. 21 jersey honored and placed in the rafters of the Dean E. Smith Center in November 1994. During the summer between his senior season at UNC and his rookie season in the NBA, Kupchak was the starting center for the gold medal-winning United States Men’s National Team at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. He also won a gold medal for the United States in the World University Games in Moscow in 1973. Kupchak received his MBA from UCLA in February 1987. He and his wife, Claire, have one son, Maxwell, who graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara in 2019.
James R. Jordan
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
James R. Jordan serves as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for Hornets Sports & Entertainment. He joined the organization in November 2013 after serving as an advisor to the Chairman’s support team since March 2010. Prior to coming to the organization, Jordan was Director of Operations and Administration for the EPS Corporation, Field Service Company located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, since 2006. Jordan retired from the United States Army in September 2006 after 31 years of service as an outstanding soldier, leader and manager with documented success. He served as the 35th Signal Brigade Airborne Command Sergeant Major from February 2002-April 2006 as a part of 18th Airborne Corps Task Force supporting Combat Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. While deployed, he was the Senior Signal Enlisted Manager of a Signal Task Force that, at times, reached over 3,600 soldiers and contractors spanning throughout both countries. Jordan also served at Fort Bragg from August 1993-February 2002 as the 327th Airborne Signal Battalion Command Sergeant Major and as Bravo Company 327th First Sergeant within the 35th Signal Brigade Airborne, where he was responsible for planning, coordinating and directing the activities of all personnel assigned while in both positions. He was selected to lead an Airborne Signal Task Force that supported a 1,500-person Task Force of soldiers and contractors during Operation Restore Hope in Haiti. As a member of the United States Army, he received numerous awards, including the Legion of Merit Award; The Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (4th Oak Leaf Cluster); Army Commendation Medal (10th award); Army Achievement Medal (5th award); Humanitarian Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Good Conduct Medal (10th award); and The Signal Corps’ Silver and Bronze Order of Mercury Medals. Jordan and his wife, Blanca, have three kids and presently reside in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he is actively engaged in supporting the community.
Executive Vice President & Spectrum Center General Manager
Donna Julian is Executive Vice President & Spectrum Center General Manager for Hornets Sports & Entertainment. In this role, she directs all aspects of arena administration, including operations, booking, guest experience, public safety and marketing for the venue that is the home of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. Julian initially joined the organization on February 1, 2005, and was part of the team that opened Spectrum Center in October 2005. Under her leadership, the arena has hosted more than 20,000,000 fans at more than 1,900 events, including sporting events, concerts, family shows, conventions and more. Spectrum Center has been the site of two of the largest events ever to visit the city of Charlotte, the 2012 Democratic National Convention and the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, and has hosted the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament twice and NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament action on four occasions. Julian was selected as one of Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers in 2020 and was one of VenuesNow’s inaugural All-Stars in 2019. She serves on the North Carolina Emergency Response Commission representing the public assembly venue sector, the Governor’s COVID-19 Large Gatherings Task Force, the Executive Committee of the NC Live Coalition, the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Sports Leadership Council and the Leadership Development Committee of the International Association of Venue Managers. Prior to coming to Charlotte, Julian spent 15 years as General Manager of 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore. She was elevated to General Manager after serving in a number of roles in sales, marketing and event administration for Centre Management, the operating company for the Capital Centre (later USAir Arena), home of the Washington Bullets and Washington Capitals. Julian previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas and remains an active Big Sister to Little Sister Hannah. She also serves as a member of several industry committees: member of the Women Executives (WE) Selection Committee, Executive Committee member of the N.C. Sports Leadership Council and she serves on National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Foundation Board. Julian received her bachelor’s degree in athletics administration from Ohio University, where she was a four-year letter winner and co-captain of the tennis team as a senior, as well as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She and her husband, David, live in Matthews, North Carolina, and have two sons, Griffin and Donovan.
Chief Marketing Officer
Entering his 18th season with the organization in 2023-24, Seth Bennett is Chief Marketing Officer for Hornets Sports & Entertainment. In this role, he leads the team’s marketing strategy and brand identity, as well as managing areas including marketing and advertising, campaigns and activations, creative services, youth programs, fan development, event and game presentations, technical operations, retail, and team ambassadors. Bennett is also responsible for supporting the business operations of the Greensboro Swarm, the organization’s NBA G League affiliate that began play in 2016, and is a member of the G League Board of Governors. Since initially joining the franchise in September 2006, Bennett’s responsibilities have included managing the team’s broadcast relationships with TV partner Bally Sports (formerly Fox Sports) and flagship radio station WFNZ, the selection and scheduling of regional preseason games across North and South Carolina and the revamping of the team’s game presentation, as well as the redesign of the team store and the introduction of exclusive co-branded Jordan Brand apparel into the store’s inventory. He also served as one of the franchise’s primary leaders in the 2014 rebranding to the Charlotte Hornets, managing all aspects of the process on a day-to-day basis. Bennett has more than 25 years of experience in a variety of areas across sports and entertainment. As owner and founding principal of The Event Authority, he produced over 400 live events for various college and high school athletic programs and entertainment entities. That list includes nine HBCU Football Classics, the Jordan Brand Classic high school basketball all-star game, the HoopTee Celebrity Golf Classic, and the corporate entertainment for the PGA Tour FBR Open in Phoenix. He also spent eight years working in NCAA Division I athletics. Bennett earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations in 1993 from North Carolina A&T State University, where he played football for the Aggies. He is a member of the PBS North Carolina Board of Trustees, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Board of Trustees, and the First Tee of Greater Charlotte Board of Directors. Previously he served on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas Board of Directors, the North Carolina A&T State University Board of Visitors, and the University of North Carolina Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute Board of Advisors. Bennett and his wife, Michelle, have one son, Seth Michael.
Chief Information Officer
Ronnie Bryant is entering his 20th year with Hornets Sports & Entertainment and his fifth as Chief Information Officer. In this role, he is responsible for all IT infrastructure for the organization, including the Charlotte Hornets, Greensboro Swarm, Hornets Venom GT and Spectrum Center. He oversees the implementation, management and support of the organization’s computer hardware and software, networking, internet, telephones and more. In addition, he also oversees the day-to-day operations of Hornets Venom GT, the organization’s NBA 2K League affiliate. Bryant initially joined the organization in 2004. After two years as Information Technology Administrator, he was promoted to Manager of Information Technology in 2006. He has led the Information Technology department since 2007 and was promoted to Senior Manager of Information Technology in 2008, Director of Information Technology in 2011 and Vice President of Information Technology in 2015, before assuming his current role in October 2019. Bryant also oversees all IT needs for events at Spectrum Center, including Hornets games, college basketball games, concerts, family shows and conventions. Key events during his tenure include the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the 2008 and 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournaments, the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament East Regional, and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s first and second rounds in 2011, 2015 and 2018. Prior to joining the organization in April 2004, Bryant spent time at First Union Bank and Presbyterian Hospital, both in Charlotte. Bryant is a member of the Urban League of Central Carolinas Board of Directors, as well as the Advisory Boards of the Charlotte Chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals, CharlotteCIO and the North Carolina Technology Association. Bryant is a 2002 graduate of Alabama State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and worked as a systems administrator in the IT department. He and his wife, Amber, live in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and have twin daughters, Ariana and Ariel.
Chief Communications Officer
Mike Cristaldi is in his 11th season with the organization and his fourth as Chief Communications Officer after being promoted in October 2019. In this role, he is responsible for creating the organization’s overall communications strategy, handling brand and reputation management, developing content strategies across all platforms, managing the team broadcast partner relationships with Bally Sports Southeast and WFNZ radio and driving publicity for all basketball, business and arena initiatives. Cristaldi oversees HSE’s communications, digital and social media, corporate social responsibility and broadcasting departments. Cristaldi joined the organization as Vice President of Communications in June 2013. While with HSE, he has been responsible for leading the communications strategies of such initiatives as the return of the Hornets brand, hosting the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, the Swarm the Polls voting platform, several Hornets player award publicity campaigns and all basketball-related announcements. Prior to joining the Hornets, Cristaldi spent 13 years with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, including the final six as Director of Public Relations and Community Relations. Cristaldi initially started with the Timberwolves organization in 2000 as Public Relations Manager for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, before transitioning to the Timberwolves in 2003. Before going to Minnesota, Cristaldi served as Director of Public Relations and radio announcer for the Continental Basketball Association’s Rockford Lightning from 1998-2000. He also spent the summer of 1998 working in the public relations and marketing departments for the Las Vegas Stars of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. A native of Dedham, Massachusetts, Cristaldi earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Marquette University. He and his wife, Heidi, have two daughters, Bella and Mia.
Chief Financial Officer
Travis Ferguson is in his 18th season with Hornets Sports & Entertainment and his eighth as Chief Financial Officer. Ferguson oversees all financial and accounting functions of the organization, with responsibilities for the management and strategic direction of financial matters, creating and enforcing accounting and financial policies, financial and tax reporting, League financial relations, and treasury. Ferguson played key roles in the due diligence for the ownership transition from Robert Johnson to Michael Jordan and from Michael Jordan to Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin led group, recent CBA and revenue sharing negotiations and financial oversight for the 2019 NBA All Star Game in Charlotte. Ferguson has led a finance team recognized as best in class in the NBA, winning the “MVP” award in 2016, 2018 and 2023 at annual NBA finance meetings. In 2020, he was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as CFO of the Year Award for midsized private companies. Prior to joining Hornets Sports & Entertainment in 2006, Ferguson participated in the Ford Motor Company internship program in Dearborn, Michigan, where he supported the financial needs of Ford’s powertrain department, including business planning and forecasting, labor cost analysis and production efficiency. A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Ferguson is a graduate of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with a concentration in finance and a minor in information systems. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, working out and all things Tar Heels. He and his wife, Mindy, currently reside in south Charlotte with their three kids, Ella, Lucas and Bennett.
Chief Revenue Officer
Jacob Gallagher is in his 18th year with Hornets Sports & Entertainment and his fifth as Chief Revenue Officer. In this role, he is responsible for strategic planning and execution related to generating revenue growth for the organization and contributes to the success of the overall fan experience. Gallagher oversees the organization’s ticket sales and services, partnership sales and activation, ticket operations and business intelligence departments, including email marketing and reimagining fan engagement through the Hornets App. Gallagher initially joined the franchise as an intern in 2006 before being hired full-time at the conclusion of his internship as a Season Ticket Service Representative. The next year he was promoted to Senior Account Manager and then spent four years as Manager of Season Ticket Services before being promoted to Director of Season Ticket & Premium Services in 2012. After two years in that role, he was promoted to Senior Director of Client Services & Retention in 2014 and Vice President of Client Development & Group Ticket Sales in 2015 before being named Senior Vice President of Sales and Services in 2016 and finally assuming his current role in 2019. Gallagher is also a veteran of the United States Navy. He served for four years, achieving the rank of petty officer third class. While working in naval aviation, he was stationed in Pensacola, Florida; San Diego, California; Jacksonville, Florida; and Washington, D.C. The Oneida, Tennessee, native graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. Gallagher and his wife, Laura, reside in south Charlotte and have three children, Parker, Ethan and Caroline.
Assistant General Manager
Buzz Peterson enters his third season as Senior Vice President & Assistant General Manager with the Charlotte Hornets, his seventh in the capacity of Assistant General Manager and his 12th overall with the organization. In his role, he collaborates with President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak on aspects of the team’s basketball operations including professional and collegiate scouting, draft preparations, player acquisitions and salary cap management. Peterson previously served as the Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations, a Scout for the organization and the Director of Player Personnel for the Charlotte Bobcats from 2007-09 and 2014-15. Peterson has held college head coaching positions at University of North Carolina Wilmington, Coastal Carolina University, University of Tennessee, University of Tulsa and Appalachian State University (twice), compiling an overall coaching record of 267-227. Peterson, who led Tulsa to the 2001 NIT Championship, began his coaching career as an assistant at Appalachian State before joining Les Robinson’s staff at East Tennessee State for one year and later moving with Robinson to North Carolina State. He also served as associate head coach at Vanderbilt for three seasons. As a player, Peterson was a Parade and McDonald’s All-American at Asheville High School and was named North Carolina’s Player of the Year and Athlete of the Year in 1981. During his four years at the University of North Carolina, Peterson helped the Tar Heels to a 115-22 mark, four Atlantic Coast Conference championships, one ACC Tournament title and four appearances in the NCAA Tournament. He was part of UNC’s 1982 national championship team and was voted the outstanding senior by his teammates following the 1984-85 season. Peterson and his wife, Jan, have three children, Nicole, Olivia, and Rob and three grandchildren Briggs, Stella and Rivers.