HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo and Dash have named their new president of business operations less than a week after the departure of Chris Canetti, who resigned after 13 years with the organization.
Veteran sports business executive John Walker will now lead the organizations. He comes from the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, where he spent the last three seasons as executive vice president for business operations. He also brings experience in Major League Baseball, college athletics and with third-party ticketing companies.
Walker will oversee all aspects of the club’s business operations and all of its entities, including the Dynamo and Dash, as well as BBVA Compass Stadium and Houston Sports Park.
“I’m proud to welcome John Walker to the Houston Dynamo and Dash. He is a highly respected leader in the sports industry whose breadth and depth of experience in multiple sports, leagues and areas of the business will help our club continue to grow,” Dynamo and Dash majority owner Gabriel Brener said. “He has proven the ability to not only generate tremendous financial results, but to build a team-focused culture that leads to success across an organization. His energy, enthusiasm and ideas will help drive our club forward, and I am excited to begin this new chapter in our club’s history.”
Under Walker’s leadership, the Grizzlies' business operations unit set franchise records in ticket sales and total revenue, and he helped the club sell its first-ever jersey partnership, along with other key partnerships. He also led the effort to acquire a new G-League franchise in 2017 and oversaw the launch of an NBA2K esports franchise.
"I'm humbled to have the opportunity to build upon the legacy that Oliver Luck started and Chris Canetti developed with the Dynamo and Dash organization. The club has made an incredible impact on the soccer community locally, nationally and internationally and has developed a loyal and passionate fan base,” Walker said. “Mr. Brener and the ownership group are committed to building a winning team, growing the fan base and continuing that legacy. The future is promising on all fronts, and I'm excited to get started. When I think about the future of the club and how bright it is, it starts with this city, this amazing city.
"It's incredibly diverse. It's multinational, just like our club, and it's getting younger as the influence of high tech attracts millennials, many of whom have grown up playing and following the game of soccer. Some of those are our fans today, and those will be our future fans. In addition, it's a great sports town, and although it's a competitive sports market, and I understand that, there's room in this market for everyone, and I'm a sports fan, so I'm happy to be in town."