President & CEO Arizona Diamondbacks
Local Board Member, Arizona
Considered by many to be among the leaders of the game, D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall has turned the organization into a model franchise within the sports industry and throughout the business world during his seven years at the helm of the club. Hall focuses the organization's efforts in five areas he has called the "Circle of Success" - fan experience, performance, community, culture and financial efficiency - each of which has seen tremendous success during his tenure.
With a focus on creating the best fan experience in all of sports, Hall has succeeded in accomplishing that goal at both Chase Field and at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the D-backs' Spring Training home near Scottsdale. Stadium enhancements at Chase Field that have taken place under Hall's guidance include the APS solar shade structure in the plaza area, new HD scoreboard in center field, the Sandlot on the upper level, the Miller Lite Diamond Club, All-You-Can-Eat Seats on the Insight Diamond level and value-item pricing at concession stands and Team Shop locations throughout the ballpark. Hall also installed, named and created a FAWTSY (Find A Way To Say Yes) customer service policy throughout the organization to further improve upon the extraordinary fan experience, while the team continues to offer the lowest Fan Cost Index in Major League Baseball.
Hall's leadership has helped guide the D-backs to two National League West Division Championships (2007, '11) and one NLCS (2007). Following a 97-loss season in 2010, Hall hired Kevin Towers as the club's general manager and along with Towers, tabbed Kirk Gibson as the manager. The results were immediate, with the team posting a 29-game turnaround and a 94-win season in 2011, the third-highest total in franchise history. Gibson would go on to win National League Manager of the Year honors while Towers finished third in Executive of the Year voting.
In the community, Hall has positioned the D-backs as one of the largest philanthropic entities in the Valley. In 2012, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and the D-backs' organization surpassed the $30 million mark in charitable giving since their inception in 1998, including more than $19 million in the past seven years under Hall's direction. He established the Michael Wogan Season Ticket Scholarship Program, a first-of-its-kind program for fans or existing season ticket holders who may have experienced a change in circumstances, resulting in a total of 98 families being given full season tickets worth a combined total value of more than $600,000 since 2008.
The unique corporate culture of the D-backs, which was created by Hall, led Yahoo! to deem the club as "the best workplace in sports." Hall created a President's Council, comprised of select members of the executive management team and a rotating committee consisting of the organization's Employee of the Month winners, to organize numerous company culture events throughout the year. He also established employee recognition programs like "A-Game All-Stars" to reward game-day employees for exceptional service on a monthly basis throughout the season. The organization's investment in its employees resulted in the D-backs becoming the first sports organization to be named among the "Best Places to Work" by the Phoenix Business Journal and BestCompaniesAZ for six consecutive years from 2007-12, as well as by PHOENIX magazine in 2008.
In 2012, with the intent to increase community volunteerism amongst D-backs employees, identify and develop leaders, and build upon D-backs culture, the team created the D-backs Give Back League. More than 100 employees joined to form nine teams with each creating a plan to reach into the community. The volunteer-driven league resulted close to $750,000 in cash and in-kind donations and several thousand volunteer hours.
The D-backs' payroll in 2013 will be its highest since 2002, yet during the last eight years the team has eliminated more than $175 million of debt through equity and debt restructures, putting the franchise on sound financial ground for years to come.
The success of the franchise both on and off the field during Hall's tenure has led to numerous awards and honors, including ESPN the Magazine tabbing the D-backs as the top National League franchise, second overall in baseball and 10th in professional sports in the publication's Ultimate Standings, which is based on eight categories on and off the field. Additional recent awards include the Arizona Business Leadership Award (2012), "Organization of the Year" (2011) and the DREAMR award (2012) by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, "Most Admired Company" and "top leadership" by AZBusiness Magazine (2011). In 2010, the D-backs were given the inaugural United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award, which named the D-backs the most positive team in the world and is viewed as a 21st century peace prize. The award honors and recognizes organizations positively impacting their communities through corporate responsibility.
Hall's vision to further establish the organization as a sports industry leader while spurring economic development and impact throughout the Valley came to fruition in 2011, as the team hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Chase Field for the first time ever, creating an economic impact of more than $67 million. Hall's persistence in convincing MLB to award the Midsummer Classic to the D-backs allowed Chase Field and downtown Phoenix to be showcased in more than 100 million homes across the world, while working diligently with city leaders, politicians and officials to ensure that fans had the finest All-Star Game experience.
The unveiling of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the D-backs 140-acre Spring Training facility shared with the Colorado Rockies on Salt River Indian Community land near Scottsdale, Ariz. that Hall negotiated and designed, has greatly added to the already $350 million of economic impact for the Valley associated with Spring Training each year. In both 2011 and 2012, the D-backs set a franchise record for Spring Training attendance while the two clubs set an all-time Major League record for combined attendance at a single Spring Training facility. Salt River Fields was the first professional sports training facility in the U.S. to be built on tribal land and was privately funded without the use of any taxpayer dollars.
Hall's vision for Salt River Fields was to keep fan interaction with players a top priority while also ensuring maximum comfort for visitors attending games at the 11,000-seat ballpark. Both goals were accomplished, as the main stadium is located in the middle of the facility to enable fans to mingle throughout and get an up close look at D-backs players as they practice. A unique roof structure and a northeast-facing field allow for approximately 85 percent of the fans in all 7,000 fixed seats to be shaded as the game progresses.
Hall also routinely communicates with D-backs fans as part of his "one fan at a time" concept by answering every letter, email or phone call. He conducts monthly chats on dbacks.com and is among just a handful of club presidents on Twitter (@DHallDbacks), where he interacts regularly with fans. Hall spends most of his time at home games communicating with the fans in the stands to ensure their experience at Chase Field is exceptional.
Among the projects outside of Chase Field and Salt River Fields that have Hall's fingerprints on them is the Legends Entertainment District, a joint venture between the D-backs, the Phoenix Suns and the City of Phoenix that is the first of its kind between two professional sports organizations. The project has transformed the look of downtown Phoenix by creating experiential outdoor marketing opportunities and an energetic backdrop for visitors and Phoenix residents to enjoy their experience downtown. He has taken several goodwill trips to Mexico and Japan, helping to bring international recognition to the D-backs.
Hall currently serves on 25 boards, including the Arizona Mexico Commission, Great Hearts Academies, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, National Vice President of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Advisory Council for Pancreatic Cancer, Stand up 2 Cancer Melanoma Dream Team Sponsor, US Airways Education Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Positive Coaching Alliance. Hall, who is the current Chairman of the Board for the Valley of the Sun United Way, raised $47 million throughout the Phoenix area as the non-profit organization's 2009-10 campaign chairman. He has also raised money by serving as an event chairman for the Prostate On-Site Project (POP) Walk, 75th Anniversary March of Dimes, March for Babies Walk, The Wellness Center, several Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) events, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), St. Vincent de Paul, Florence Crittendon and the Foundation for Blind Children.
Hall, who serves on MLB's diversity committee, and the Commissioner's on-field diversity task force gives numerous keynote speeches to various groups or conventions throughout the country about his unique vision on leadership, customer service and culture. He has spoken to U.S. Air Force Academy cadets at the annual National Leadership and Character Symposium in Colorado Springs. He donates all speaking engagement fees back to the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and other local non-profit organizations he supports.
A native of Los Angeles, Hall originally joined the D-backs in May 2005 as Senior Vice President, Communications and served in numerous capacities prior to being named president in September 2006 and adding the title of CEO in January 2009. Prior to joining the D-backs, Hall made a brief stop as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications for KB Home, a Fortune 500 company based in Los Angeles, where he increased the brand awareness of the nation's fifth-largest homebuilder. He spent parts of 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, joining the organization's Single-A Florida State League affiliate in Vero Beach, Fla. as an intern in 1992 and departing as the club's Senior Vice President, Communications in 2004. In between, he served key roles during three ownership changes with the Dodgers and was recognized for reuniting Fernando Valenzuela with the organization after hiring him as a color analyst for the team's Spanish radio broadcasts in 2003.
Hall stepped outside of baseball for employment during the 1999 season, as he hosted a three-hour morning talk show on the Dodgers' flagship station (XTRA 1150 AM) and served as host of the "Dodger Game Day" pre-game radio show when the team played at Dodger Stadium. He also had a stint in front of the camera as a weekend sports anchor at KNBC-TV (Ch. 4) in Los Angeles.
He received a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University, where he was named "Man of the Year" in 1991, in broadcasting and journalism and a master's degree from Ohio University in sports administration. In 2012, he received an honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Phoenix. He was inducted into the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002 and was awarded the ASU Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2003. In 2006, Ohio University's Sports Administration Program awarded Hall as the 25th recipient of the Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumnus Award. Hall was the keynote speaker for ASU's Cronkite school convocation in December 2008, becoming the first Cronkite alum to deliver a commencement speech at the school's graduation and also spoke at the W.P. Carey School of Business and the University of Phoenix convocation in 2012.
His philanthropic efforts led to Hall being named the inaugural recipient of the Goldwater Community Service Award in 2012 by the active 20-30 club of Phoenix. In 2007, he was named to the Phoenix Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" class, was the recipient of the "Community Lifeline Award" from Teen Lifeline and was named the Phoenix Father's Day Council "Father of the Year" to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The SportsBusiness Journal added him to its prestigious "Forty Under 40" class in 2008. The Phoenix Business Journal also named Hall to its inaugural list of "Most Admired CEOs" in 2009. Hall is also a member of the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business "Dean's Council of 100," Young Presidents' Organization and the Thunderbirds.
He faced his greatest personal challenge when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2011, just as the team was battling for a division title. Hall immediately went public with the diagnosis in order to encourage other men to get tested after age 40. Following successful surgery to remove his prostate, Hall is now cancer free and has become a tireless advocate of cancer-fighting charities while continuing to speak publicly about the health challenge he faces. In 2013, he will launch his own 501(c)(3) organization, the Derrick Hall Pro-State Foundation, which is dedicated to serving as a comprehensive tool for those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and their families to help them understand the challenges and choices they face and how they can maintain a "pro" state of mind.
Hall and his wife, Amy, reside in Paradise Valley with their children Logan, Hayden and Kylie.