Astros president, CEO Postolos steps down

Consultant played prominent part in purchase of club, rebranding strategy

HOUSTON -- George Postolos, who played an instrumental role in working with owner Jim Crane and his group to purchase the Astros, resigned suddenly from his position as president and CEO of the team Monday afternoon.

The team released a statement saying Postolos would return to his consulting practice advising investors on acquisitions and strategy in professional sports. Crane wasn't available for comment, but Postolos reiterated to MLB.com the decision to leave was his alone.

"It's something we've talked about, and it's the right time for the organization," he said. "Jim and I have been working together for seven years, and I think a lot has been accomplished."

During his time with the Astros, Postolos helped rebrand the franchise with new uniforms, colors and logos, and also revamped the marketing and foundation departments and emphasized the importance of feedback from Astros fans.

"We appreciate George's hard work in the acquisition of the Astros and his commitment to the organization," Crane said in a statement. "I'd also like to personally thank him for the assistance that he has provided to me over the last several years and wish him the best of luck in the future."

The Astros have undergone a huge makeover under Crane's watch that stretches beyond new uniforms and playing in the American League. There has been a heavy turnover in the front office, with several key members departing in the last 18 months.

The team has also struggled on the field, losing a franchise-record 107 games last year and entering play Monday with a 10-28 record and in last place in the AL West. The Astros' $22 million payroll is the lowest in baseball as the club tries to rebuild through player development and the First-Year Player Draft.

Postolos left a similar position with the NBA's Houston Rockets in 2006 and started a company that helps acquire sports franchises. He and Crane attempted to land the Rangers and Cubs before coming through on their second attempt to purchase the Astros -- a $610 million deal that hinged on a 2013 move to the AL West from the National League, where the club played for 51 years.

"We started out with an idea that [Crane] would become an MLB owner, and he became the controlling owner of the franchise in his hometown and has a great ownership group in place," Postolos said. "Since the time we closed [November 2011], we've made a lot of improvements in the business, and I think it's in a very good position right now. The organization has a lot of the key pieces in place going forward to be successful. I know Jim will bring a World Series to Houston."

Prior to joining the Astros, Postolos was COO of the Rockets for four years and president and CEO for four years, and he was instrumental in the development of the Toyota Center. He was also behind Comcast SportsNet Houston, a regional sports network formed in partnership with the Astros and Rockets that hit the airwaves last fall.

Slow negotiations between the CSN Houston and satellite/cable providers such as DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse and Time Warner Cable have left more than half of the Houston TV market without the ability to watch Astros games on a daily basis, which has frustrated fans.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Postolos began his sports career at a young age, when former San Antonio Spurs owner Angelo Drossos -- a close friend of Postolos' dad -- hired him to sell season tickets during a summer break from Harvard.

Postolos was soon rubbing shoulders with Larry O'Brien, the former NBA commissioner, and later met current NBA commissioner David Stern, who eventually hired him to be his special assistant. A career was born, and Postolos has been a fixture in the Houston sports scene for more than a decade.

For now, Postolos is looking forward to helping investors acquire professional sports franchises.

"If you look at what's going on in the sports acquisition marketplace, it's very robust," Postolos said. "Major League Baseball, even since the time we acquired the Astros, there has been some very impressive transactions put together, and I think that's going to continue in baseball, and also in other major sports. And they all look like they're well-positioned. It's a good time to be doing kind of what I used to do before I became president of the Astros, which is helping investors pursue Major League franchises. I'm kind of back to that again, and it's a good time to return to that."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.