Ownership: Tom Gores
Tom Gores is owner of the Detroit Pistons and Chairman and CEO of global investment firm Platinum Equity. A graduate of Michigan State University who grew up in Flint, MI, 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. 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, Gores returned the Pistons to downtown Detroit in 2017 and this season opened the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center, a state-of-the-art practice facility and corporate headquarters. Those efforts are bringing substantial new investment and economic activity to the city and a comprehensive community benefits package that will aid Detroit’s neighborhoods and advance the city’s continued resurgence.
The new performance center is one of the top sports medicine, practice facility and team headquarters complexes in the NBA. Located in the New Center area of Detroit, the new state-of-the-art training facility connects to a new Henry Ford Health System Center for Athletic Medicine complex that houses physicians and researchers specializing in rehabilitative treatment, injury diagnosis and prevention. The integration of sports science and research with day-to-day player training sessions provides Pistons players with a substantial competitive advantage and ensures the franchise has the best tools available anywhere for maximizing player development and attracting and retaining top talent. Serving the public interest, the new facility includes retail spaces that create jobs and make the neighborhood an even more attractive place to live and work. Michigan-based grocer Plum Market is opening its first café and market location in Detroit on site, while Blink Fitness, a premium-quality value-based gym, is opening one of 15 planned Metro Detroit locations at the performance center as well.
While continuing to maximize the franchise’s business and community impact off the court, Gores led a complete overhaul of the team’s front office and coaching staff during the summer of 2018 to help maximize the team’s potential on the court. Veteran NBA executive Ed Stefanski was hired to run basketball operations with a mandate from Gores to create a progressive, dynamic organization that would blend proven, hard-earned experience with the best of modern, cutting-edge practices. Stefanski assembled a duo of talented, up-and-coming Assistant GM’s in Pat Garrity and Malik Rose, and brought together some of the brightest young minds in the League on matters of personnel, analytics and basketball administration. He also brought back legendary former Pistons trainer Arnie Kander – recognized as one of the best in the business at injury prevention and rehab – to assess the team’s medical and training needs, bring in new leadership and consult with the team on an ongoing basis.
The front office hires were widely-praised throughout the NBA, as was the hiring of former NBA Coach of the Year Dwane Casey. An experienced, highly-respected head coach who took the Toronto Raptors franchise to new heights and is known for his ability to develop and maximize young talent, Casey was attracted to Gores’ vision for the franchise and to the potential of the players on the roster. After leading the club to the 2018 NBA Playoffs in his first year in Detroit, Casey believes this year’s Pistons team has an opportunity to continue its upward arch with a year of familiarity and feel for his free-flowing offense system and fundamental defensive principles.
Preparation for the 2019-20 NBA season has focused on opening the year with a roster built around All-NBA performer Blake Griffin, two-time NBA all-star Andre Drummond, a healthy Reggie Jackson and continued maturation from a number of young players, including Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown. Other offseason moves have helped provide veteran leadership and depth at the point guard and wing positions, specifically the addition of former NBA MVP Derrick Rose as well as veterans Tony Snell, Markieff Morris and Tony Frazier.
Off the court, Gores and his organization have remained equally committed to making an impact in the community. Gores, Pistons’ Vice Chairman Arn 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, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, HAVEN and the Jalen Rose Youth Academy. The basketball team also supports a wide-range of community programs through NBA Cares that focus on health and fitness, education, military, special needs, Black History and the environment. Since its inception in 2005, the NBA Cares program has generated more than $105 million for charity, donated over 950,000 hours of hands-on volunteer service and built more than 415 places where kids and families can live, learn or play.
Gores and the Pistons are investing $2.5 million over six years for a City Court Rehabilitation project in partnership with the City of Detroit Recreation Department, which will oversee the construction, renovation and refurbishment of 60 basketball courts in parks throughout Detroit. In 2016, 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. The Pistons have been active in their support of FlintNOW, as have many other businesses. 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. In August of 2017, 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 scholarships are expected to launch for the 2018-19 school year. Furthering Gores’ long-term vision to impact young people his hometown, he recently brought the nationally renowned Vision To Learn program to Flint in May 2018, providing free eye exams and glasses to students in need across Flint Community Schools.
Strong relationships, trust in people and open communication are hallmarks of Gores’ approach and have been fundamental to the success of Platinum Equity, the investment firm he founded in 1995. Under his leadership, Platinum Equity has grown into a multibillion-dollar investment firm with a diverse, global portfolio of operating companies in a wide range of different industries. The firm has more than $19 billion of assets under management and its current portfolio comprises approximately 40 operating companies generating more than $31 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.
Gores’ focus on operational execution is a hallmark of Platinum Equity’s approach. The firm employs a highly specialized strategy it calls M&A&O® that integrates investment expertise with deep operational capability and resources. Its focus on operational execution is a signature of Platinum Equity’s differentiation in the global M&A marketplace.
Gores’ 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. He 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, Gores learned the importance of empowerment, hard work and integrity – principles that guide him still today.
Born in Nazareth, Israel, Gores (55) moved with his family at age four to Genesee, MI, where he grew up and went to high school. He worked his way through college, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State in 1986. He and Holly have three children and reside in Beverly Hills, CA. The family also maintains a residence in Birmingham, MI.
Gores is a long-time supporter of initiatives focused on education, health care and the arts. He also has a deep passion for youth sports, having coached numerous soccer and basketball teams and funded a broad range of sports-related programs that teach kids valuable lessons about teamwork, leadership and commitment.