Mike Nealy is stepping down as executive director of the Fiesta Bowl after eight years in charge of the organization with Jim Hatfield stepping in as interim executive director.
The Fiesta Bowl has remained one of the biggest in the bowl postseason. The organization credited Nealy in a statement for growing community involvement around the game and establishing grant process that contributed more than $20 million of charitable funds to deserving nonprofit organizations across Arizona.
“We worked diligently over the last eight years to develop world class college football Bowl Season experiences and community events while also driving economic growth and expanding charitable giving within our Arizona community,” Nealy said. “I believe this is the right time to step aside as the Fiesta Bowl continues to prepare for what is expected to be a dynamic future for collegiate Bowl Season organizations I have enjoyed serving our community and the Fiesta Bowl Organization during a time of growth and stability and being a champion of charitable causes across the great state of Arizona.”
“Mike was hired by the Fiesta Bowl eight years ago to help strengthen the bowl as a preeminent organization, execute our charitable mission and expand our partner and sponsor base,” said Fiesta Bowl Board Chair Patrick Barkley. “He was the right person to help us meet our mission and objectives and we are deeply grateful for all of Mike’s contributions to the Fiesta Bowl Organization.”
The Fiesta Bowl board of directors will engage a national search firm to identify Nealy’s replacement over the coming months. Hatfield, who has served on the board for seven years, recently retired as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and its primary subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company.
“Mike has done an excellent job of helping to fortify our organization, its charitable mission and our place in college football,” said Hatfield. “I am honored to provide a steady hand as we look for our future next executive director.”