Some surprising news this morning, as the team announced via media release that CEO Jim Little has been removed from his role “as a result of conduct inconsistent with the core values of the Ottawa Senators and the National Hockey League” after less than two months on the job.
Little’s hiring was originally announced on January 10th, and he was out doing the media rounds less than three weeks ago.
The release added that senior management has taken over the CEO duties, and a search for a new CEO is already under way.
No firm details on the reasons behind this decision are available at the moment, and “conduct inconsistent with the core values” can cover a lot of ground.
A source has told the National Post that the team has been in contact with the league over Little’s release “and how it relates to recent policy changes within the league” - a reference to the league’s new zero-tolerance policy on abusive behaviour. The Post’s source does not go so far as to directly link the dismissal to something that would be covered by that policy. On the flip side, when asked about it at the Board of Governor’s meeting, Gary Bettman seems to contradict the Post’s source saying it has nothing to do with the league’s updated abuse policy discussed in December.
Gary Bettman from the BoG meetings on the Jim Little firing:— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) March 4, 2020
“It’s not what you think. Or what’s been suggested...It’s not one of the things we had been discussing at the board meetings in December. It has to do more with internal operations."
In his article on the dismissal, Ian Mendes mentions that there were some signs of trouble, but not nearly enough to see this coming.
There were rumblings last week that Little and Melnyk weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a couple of issues, but even the biggest skeptics didn’t believe a divorce was so imminent.
Jim Little released the following statement to media regarding the firing (via Ian Mendes):
We’ll be sure to update if more information comes in.