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Profiling Chris Ilitch

The Detroit News's Daniel Howes wrote a superb profile of the man in charge of the Ilitch empire, one Chris Ilitch:

The new top guy at Ilitch Holdings Inc. isn’t new.

The youngest son of Mike and Marian Ilitch holds a University of Michigan business degree, but the education of Christopher Ilitch, 51, spans the nearly 30 years he’s worked alongside his parents inside the pizza and entertainment empire they built. Along the way, Chris, CEO of the family company since 2004, learned a few things.

Think big. Be prepared and thorough. Be creative yet humble. Treat people well even as you demand accountability and, yes, performance — be it in the batters box at Comerica Park or the latest quarterly sales report from Little Caesar Enterprises Inc., the multinational pizza company founded in 1959. And do things right.

Howes continues...

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Comments

Avatar

It’s all good, but I am curious what does he know about hockey?

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 11:03 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Chris has been the Wings’ CEO since 2008.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/17/17 at 11:06 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Chris has been the Wings’ CEO since 2008.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/17/17 at 11:06 AM ET

Since that coincides almost perfectly with the decline in the team, this bodes poorly.

Posted by Primis on 02/17/17 at 11:14 AM ET

Avatar

Chris has been the Wings’ CEO since 2008.

I am just curious about the level of his involvement in KH decisions. Will he just leave everything up to KH? Was he involved in the contracts given to Abby, Helm, Nielsen, DK and Glendening? Does he know enough about hockey to have a say in the decisions? Or it’s basically “do what you want” and report to me with the results at the end of the year?

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 11:15 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Chris is media-shy, but he brought in Tom Wilson from the Pistons organization to be his point man in terms of negotiating sports business deals, and there are no indications that the Ilitches were any more or less “hands-on” while Chris was in charge.

My understanding, however, was that Chris did business work while Mr. I focused on sports. That’s going to change, and as far as I know, Chris is a “hockey guy.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/17/17 at 11:17 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I don’t think we’ll see any big changes here, which is what sort of scares me.  I highly doubt Mike was making any hockey related decisions with this team the last 5 years.

Posted by TreKronor on 02/17/17 at 11:29 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

The media indications were that the one thing Mr. I did over the past few years was focus on sports. Chris is a businessman in his mother’s mold, I’d argue—a little more conservative, a little more willing to delegate—but now that his dad’s gone, I believe he’ll get more hands-on with the Wings’ operations. He’s incredibly, incredibly smart, so I’m excited to see what happens with more engaged leadership.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/17/17 at 11:32 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I predict the team gets sold within 10 years, so that Chris Illitch can focus solely on the business end of things, namely making money off of the District Detroit and Little Caesars enterprise.  My bet is the team will go to Tom Gores and associates.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 02/17/17 at 11:34 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

I predict the team gets sold within 10 years

How long is the naming rights for LCA deal for?

Because that’s the only reason I can think of to make that deal, the Ilitches still being around hockey after the team is sold.

I mean, if an Ilitch company pays another Ilitch company, then why the hell not make your fans happy and name it Gordie Howe Arena? What’s the alternative, money laundering?

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 02/17/17 at 12:09 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

My bet is the team will go to Tom Gores and associates.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 02/17/17 at 11:34 AM ET

Gores is rumored to be interested in the Tigers, not the Wings

Posted by MoreShoot on 02/17/17 at 12:35 PM ET

Avatar

Chris Ilich is not CEO of the Wings. That is Tom Wilson.
http://redwings.ice.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=60924

Ilitch is CEO of Ilitch Holdings. He oversees a lot more than just then Wings.
https://www.nhl.com/redwings/team/christopher-illitch

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 03:39 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.