LAFC President Tom Penn leaves job, moves into business

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles FC President Tom Penn is leaving his job to move into private business.

LAFC made the surprising announcement Tuesday.

Penn will remain an executive consultant for LAFC, but he is leaving to become the CEO of Co.Protect, which he recently founded. The company makes branded protective equipment.

LAFC general manager John Thorrington and chief business officer Larry Freedman will serve as interim co-team presidents, the club said in a statement.

“From the beginning, Tom had a clear vision of what LAFC would mean to the city of Los Angeles, and it is incredible to see that dream being realized,” LAFC lead managing owner Larry Berg said in a statement. “The tremendous success that the club has achieved is a result of the strength and quality of the team Tom assembled.”

Penn joined the LAFC front office early in its evolution as a co-owner and team president, and he frequently served as the face of the Major League Soccer expansion franchise’s large, oft-changing ownership group in recent years.

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and venture capitalist Henry Nguyen were the original lead owners in the expansion bid, but Berg became the lead managing owner in 2016 alongside Riot Games co-founder Brandon Beck and private equity investor Bennett Rosenthal.

Hollywood mogul Peter Guber is the club’s executive chairman, and the ownership group includes Will Ferrell, Mia Hamm Garciaparra, Magic Johnson, Tony Robbins, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, several Golden State Warriors executives and Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai.

Before LAFC, Penn worked in the front offices of the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers for a decade. He has also been a lawyer, a player agent and an ESPN basketball analyst.

LAFC has been successful from its inaugural season in 2018, compiling two winning seasons and packing their new Banc of California Stadium with sellout crowds. The club won the Supporters’ Shield last season for finishing with the league’s best regular season record behind MLS MVP Carlos Vela.

LAFC lost in the quarterfinals of the MLS Is Back tournament in Florida. The club returns to regular season play against the archrival LA Galaxy on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium.

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