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Penguins CEO opens spring “CEO Conversations” on March 24

Ken Sawyer, the CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins
3/10/2009 —
The spring 2009 CEO Conversations series kicks off March 24 featuring Ken Sawyer, the CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This free event is open to the public and will be held in the Maggie Hardy Magerko Auditorium, in Penn State Fayette’s Community Center, from noon to 1 p.m.

Ken Sawyer has been a part of the Penguins organization since September 1999, the day after the team emerged from bankruptcy protection under a new ownership group led by Mario Lemieux. Sawyer first served the organization as executive vice president and chief financial officer, became president in 2003, and then chief executive officer in 2006. As CEO, he oversees the entire Penguins operation, including the financing, development and construction of the new arena, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010.

Under Sawyer’s leadership, the Penguins have followed a strategic plan that has resulted in the rebuilding of the team’s on-ice product, the rebuilding of the team’s fan base to the point where there is now a 5,000-seat waiting list for season tickets, reaching agreement with the state on the financing for the 18,000-seat multi-purpose arena now under construction, and a new economic structure within the National Hockey League featuring a hard salary cap and revenue sharing.

Since 2000, Sawyer has also represented the Penguins in all NHL matters and is a member of the NHL’s Board of Governors. His working career spans 38 years, including 14 as the chief financial officer of the NHL. Sawyer is a graduate of McGill University in his native Montreal.

CEO Conversations, an initiative of Penn State Fayette Chancellor Dr. Emmanuel Osagie, debuted in fall 2007 with local businessman, philanthropist, and former Fayette County Commissioner Joseph A. Hardy III as the guest speaker. Guest speakers featured in 2008 included Attorney General Tom Corbett and Fayette County District Attorney Nancy Vernon; Sheetz Inc. Chairman Stephen Sheetz; American Eagle Outfitters CEO James O’Donnell; Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack; Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl; and Laura Deklewa, owner and president of Allegheny Construction Group.

CEO Conversations is designed to give students the opportunity to hear from and talk with key individuals in the local, regional and national business communities about business, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

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