Stanton officially takes over as Mariners CEO

ANAHEIM -- Longtime Seattle businessman John Stanton officially took over as the Mariners' CEO and chairman on Friday, as the club announced the official transfer of team ownership has been completed.

The expected approval of the sale of the Mariners' controlling interests from Nintendo of America to a group of minority owners led by Stanton came at the MLB Owners Meetings in Houston on Thursday, and the paperwork and transfer was completed Friday.

Stanton, 60, replaces Howard Lincoln as the Mariners' chairman and CEO. He is regarded as a pioneer in the wireless industry and is the former chairman of McCaw Cellular and Clearwire corporations, while currently serving on the board of directors for Microsoft, Costco and Columbia Sportswear.

"I care deeply and passionately about the game of baseball and about baseball fans in Seattle and the Northwest. Mariners fans have been so positive, so patient with the team, and we want to reward them with playoff and World Series baseball here at Safeco Field," Stanton said. "I want express my deepest appreciation to Howard Lincoln for his 17 years of leadership and a smooth transition in the last four months.

"The future of Mariners baseball is bright. The right management team is in place and focused on winning. It is an honor to lead this franchise, and I am ready to get started and excited for the challenges ahead."

Lincoln, 76, was a key member in the group credited with saving baseball in Seattle in 1992, when, as chairman of Nintendo of America, he helped broker the purchase of the team by majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, the chairman of Japan-based Nintendo.

Nintendo will retain 10 percent of its stake in the franchise as well as the regional ROOT Sports Network, but controlling interest in both of those entities will now lie with Stanton and the group of 17 minority investors.

There will be no single majority owner among the group, but Stanton will serve as the chairman of the board and CEO, a role previously held by Lincoln. While the percentage of ownership has shifted within the group as a result of the transaction, the members of the ownership remain exactly the same.

The agreement was announced in April, but it had to be approved by MLB owners.

Lincoln is retiring from the position he held since 1999, and he will no longer be part of the day-to-day operations. But he will remain as one of seven members of the board of directors, a group representing the 17 minority owners that meets every month to be kept up to speed on both the baseball and business sides of the franchise.

The board of directors will consist of Stanton as chairman, along with former CEOs Lincoln and John Ellis, Chris Larson, Frank Shrontz, Raymond "Buck" Ferguson and Jeff Raikes.

Stanton has been part of the ownership group in 2000, and he was added to the board of directors last year.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.