Orlando City SC announced today that club CEO Alex Leitão has resigned. Leitão initially bought into Orlando City in 2013 with Flavio Augusto da Silva, taking over as CEO for the club’s first MLS season on Jan. 20, 2015. Despite resigning as CEO, the club said that Leitão will remain involved in the club as a soccer operations advisor.
“On behalf of the entire organization, I’d like to thank Alex for everything he has given to Orlando City and the Orlando Pride during his time with the club,” Orlando City SC Chairman Mark Wilf said in a club press release. “We are respectful of his decision to step away and appreciate him for the support he has provided, especially during our acquisition period. We are pleased he will be staying involved with the club in an important role, as we aim to continue the successes both teams have shown on the field this season.”
The resignation isn’t a surprise. Brazilians Leitão and da Silva bought Orlando City from club founder Phil Rawlins during the club’s USL Pro era and became majority stakeholders when the team joined MLS. Da Silva sold his operating rights last week to a group that includes the Wilf family, which owns the Minnesota Vikings, and the DeVos family, which owns the Orlando Magic.
With da Silva as chairman and Leitão as CEO, Orlando City moved into the country’s top division, built a downtown soccer-specific stadium, added the Orlando Pride NWSL team, and signed several international stars, including Kaká, Marta, Alex Morgan, and Nani.
In addition to these achievements, Leitão has largely been credited with helping to orchestrate the MLS is Back Tournament at Disney World last summer. That tournament allowed MLS to be one of the first sports leagues to return to action after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all competitions.
“Being the leader of this organization has been one of the greatest honors of my career,” Leitão said in the club’s release. “I am incredibly proud of everything that we have been able to accomplish over the previous seven seasons, from our first-ever Orlando City match to last year’s incredible playoff run, to bringing the Pride to Orlando and all of the successes we have achieved in our front office. I’d like to thank everyone who has dedicated their efforts to the club and who have helped build Orlando City to the globally recognized franchise that it is. While my decision to step away was not easy, it is one I do with the belief that the club is in great hands with the Wilf family, and I am happy to help assist in providing a smooth transition for this new era for Orlando City SC.”
Prior to joining Orlando City, Leitão served as president of Octagon Latin America, where he led strategic planning, helping organizations leverage premier sporting events to maximize brand exposure, sales and business development. Before starting Octagon Brazil, Leitão spent 10 years with AB InBev, the largest brewery in the world, holding various roles in the marketing department.
Today’s announcement officially starts a new era for Orlando City, as the Wilf family will have full control over the club. Leitão’s departure allows the family to place their people in all of the executive positions, making the transition in ownership complete. The Wilfs are not expected to make major changes on the technical side, but virtually every sale of a sports team includes some changes on the business side of the front office.