Ex-Michigan treasurer ousted from MLB for inappropriate behavior

The Detroit News
Bob Bowman

Bob Bowman, the longtime head of the wildly successful Major League Baseball Advanced Media venture and former Michigan treasurer, was forced out of his MLB job after years of "inappropriate behavior," according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

WSJ reported Thursday night that Bowman verbally abused a coworker in October, leading to commissioner Rob Manfred's decision to cut Bowman loose.

MLB issued a press release in November announcing Bowman's departure.

WSJ also reported there was a physical confrontation between Bowman and a Boston Red Sox employee at the 2017 All-Star Game, as well as allegations of propositioning female employees and "cultivating a culture of partying and heavy drinking with employees outside the office."

At the 2016 All-Star Game, the WSJ reported, he hired female entertainers for an MLB Advanced Media party.

MLB reportedly has known about such issues surrounding Bowman for years. A spokesman for former commissioner Bud Selig told the WSJ, "It is highly inappropriate for the Commissioner Emeritus to publicly discuss any private conversations he has had with former employees.”

Manfred told the WSJ, "I would say that (the October) incident was the culmination of a variety of issues that had gone on over a period of time, and it precipitated a conversation in which Bob and I agreed that the best thing for him to do was to leave."

Bowman also issued a statement to WSJ. It read: "The culture that started at BAM was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility. This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize.”

Bowman joined MLB in 2000 and turned its internet wing in a multi-billion dollar business, one which oversees all 30 teams' websites and the league's mobile app, and eventually landed such high-profile clients as the NHL and WWE.

Bowman, a graduate of Harvard and the Wharton School of Business, was Michigan's state treasurer from 1983-90 under then-Gov. James Blanchard. After Blanchard left office, Bowman left his job and joined billion-dollar manufacturing company ITT Inc., first as CFO, then as president and COO.

In 2010, Bowman briefly considered a run for Michigan governor.