Ownership: Tom Gores
Tom Gores is owner of the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E), and Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity, a global investment firm. A graduate of Michigan State University who grew up in Flint, Michigan, Mr. Gores has substantial family and business ties to the region. His wife, Holly, a Michigan native who also graduated from Michigan State, has deep roots in the area and both are actively involved in the local community. Mr. Gores has often described the Pistons as a “community asset” with the power to unite and inspire people in Detroit and throughout Michigan.
In his most impactful move since acquiring the franchise in 2011, Mr. Gores returns the Pistons to downtown Detroit this season for the first time since 1978 where the team will now play in the new Little Caesars Arena. The move will include construction of a new state-of-the-art Pistons practice facility and corporate headquarters that will bring substantial new investment and economic activity to the city, and a comprehensive community benefits package providing significant investment to Detroit’s neighborhoods.
From an economic standpoint, the move by the Pistons will provide substantial benefits to the local economy, which is already getting a shot in the arm from The District Detroit, a $1.2 billion sports and entertainment development. Relocating the Pistons and building a new practice facility and corporate offices will generate an additional $596.2 million in estimated total economic impact in metro Detroit and create more than 2,100 jobs, according to a study by the University of Michigan Center for Sport and Policy commissioned by Palace Sports & Entertainment. That includes an estimated 1,722 construction and construction-related jobs, and 442 permanent positions.
Under the direction of President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower, the Pistons front office has delivered on Mr. Gores’ vision of resetting the culture of the franchise and assembling a cohesive and compatible team that is capable of winning now while ensuring salary cap space and flexibility for the future. Just one player remains from the roster Mr. Van Gundy inherited three years ago (Andre Drummond) and the club has executed 12 trades and signed 14 free agents since that time, bringing in young and talented players like Avery Bradley, Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris, Jon Leur, Ish Smith and Boban Marjanovic.
Off the court, Mr. Gores is equally committed to making an impact in the community. Mr. Gores, Mr. Tellem and the Detroit Pistons Foundation have made significant commitments to many local charitable organizations, including S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center, the Detroit Police Athletic League, City Year, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, the Bing Youth Institute/BINGO Mentoring Program, Forgotten Harvest, HAVEN and the Jalen Rose Youth Academy. Additionally, the club maintains a wide-range of community programs through NBA Cares, addressing health & fitness, education, military, special needs, Black History and green initiatives. In all, the NBA Cares program impacted over 20,000 people through over 3,500 logged hours of organizational volunteerism. These efforts and others were recognized nationally by ESPN as the Pistons became a finalist for the ESPN 2016 Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award.
In 2016, Mr. Gores launched FlintNOW, a $10 million private sector campaign to support short- and long-term relief and revitalization initiatives in response to the Flint water crisis. FlintNOW has cultivated relationships with dozens of key stakeholders and deployed resources to programs focused on immediate relief, healthy food and nutrition, education and long-term economic revitalization. PS&E and the Detroit Pistons have been active in their support of FlintNOW, as have many other businesses. In August, Mr. Gores and Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe announced a $2 million commitment to help fund the creation of a Flint Promise scholarship program. The new privately funded scholarship has a goal to launch for the 2018-19 school year. The funding commitment comprises a $1 million personal pledge from Mr. Gores and a $1 million grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation. Other FlintNOW partnerships include a $25 million economic development program launched with Huntington Bank, a healthy foods initiative created with the National Basketball Players Association, and numerous campaigns that have provided millions of dollars in support to local Flint charitable organizations.
Strong relationships, trust in people, and open communication are keys to Mr. Gores’ leadership approach and are reflected in the success of Platinum Equity, the investment firm he founded in 1995. Under his strategic direction, Platinum Equity has grown into a multibillion-dollar investment firm with a diverse, global portfolio of operating companies in a wide range of industries including automotive, technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and media. The firm’s current portfolio comprises approximately 30 operating companies, and in 2016 generated more than $15 billion in revenue. Platinum Equity has invested in many Michigan-based companies in a range of different industries, including automotive, transportation and logistics, and boat manufacturing.
Mr. Gores’ focus on operational execution is a hallmark of Platinum Equity’s approach, and a signature of its differentiation in the global M&A marketplace. The firm’s highly differentiated M&A&O approach – Mergers, Acquisitions and Operations – reflects Platinum Equity’s mission of not only merging or acquiring businesses, but operating them in a way that creates meaningful value.
His attention to detail and commitment to executing on fundamentals can be traced back to his early experience in learning to run a business from the ground up. The Flint native started out in the software industry as an entrepreneur who founded a successful business that provided inventory and supply chain management solutions to the lumber industry. As a small business operator, where companies often trade principally on their good word and ability to follow through on what they promise, Mr. Gores learned the importance of empowerment, hard work and integrity – principles that guide him still today.
Mr. Gores was born in Nazareth, Israel, and moved with his family at age four to Genesee, MI, where he grew up and attended high school. He worked his way through school at Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in 1986.
The 53-year-old resides in Beverly Hills, CA with his wife, Holly, and their three children. The family also maintains a residence in Birmingham, MI. Mr. Gores is an active and avid coach of youth soccer and basketball, and a patron of education, health care and the arts.