A source close to the club has informed The Mane Land that Orlando City Chief Operating Officer Brett Lashbrook is leaving the club.
Orlando City has officially confirmed our report and released this statement by club Founder and President Phil Rawlins:
"Earlier this week, Brett Lashbrook tendered his resignation in order to pursue new opportunities in the industry. His last day with the Club will be Friday, May 1st.
Brett leaves Orlando City in great shape as we have over 14,000 season ticket holders with a growing wait list -- one of only four clubs in MLS with one. He was instrumental in the growth of our corporate partnerships, and all of our key milestones in our journey to MLS including our inaugural match with over 62,000 fans in the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Brett's contribution to all these accomplishments has been vast and we wish him nothing but success in his future.
Effective immediately, CEO Alex Leitao will assume responsibility for Ticket Sales, Corporate Sales, Marketing, Communications and Operations for the Club. Alex is a very accomplished CEO with over 10 years of leadership experience in the sports industry and over three years of experience on our Board of Directors. We look forward to his contributions in these areas going forward."
Details at this point are few, but evidently Lashbrook has resigned. The source told The Mane Land that a company-wide email was sent out to announce the move.
Lashbrook was hired by the club in June of 2013 to help spearhead the campaign to bring MLS to Orlando. As the former Special Assistant to MLS Commissioner Don Garber, his knowledge of the league was seen as crucial for both the push to bring a club to Orlando and to help the club adjust to life in the top tier.
Prior to joining the Lions' Front Office, Lashbrook worked with the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cups as well as NYC2012, New York City's failed bid to to host the 2012 Olympics.
Lashbrook's responsibilities for Orlando City included the negotiating the expansion agreement between MLS and the club and securing a soccer specific stadium for the club's future home.
Lashbrook was also the face of the club during last season's issues with supporters and the implementation of a Fan Code of Conduct.
Reasons and the timetable for Lashbrook's departure are unclear but speculation within the club is that having secured the franchise in MLS he is moving on to a new challenge.
Our calls to the club early this morning for confirmation were not answered.
Earlier today, Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel wrote that he had confirmed Lashbrook's resignation through his sources.
Tenorio's subsequent follow-up reporting has expanded his article to include more background, to wit:
Lashbrook's resignation was directly related to Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva opting to restructure the front office after the hiring of Alex Leitao as chief executive officer in January, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
The recent plan to restructure would have moved many of Lashbrook's duties to Leitao, and Lashbrook opted to resign and seek opportunities elsewhere, the source said.
We will have more on this story as it develops.