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03/22/12 7:43 PM ET

Moorad steps down as Padres' CEO

Executive chooses to focus on building broadcast network

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres announced Thursday that Jeff Moorad has stepped down as the club's chief executive officer but will remain vice chairman of the team.

Moorad will be responsible for overseeing the Padres' involvement in the development of FOX Sports San Diego, but team president and chief operating officer Tom Garfinkel will assume the CEO duties on an interim basis.

"All good, will continue as vice chairman and focus on the FOX/Padres relationship," Moorad said in an email to MLB.com, "still wearing the 'SD' with pride."

On March 9, the team announced that Moorad had withdrawn his application to Major League Baseball for a control transfer in order to expedite the approval of the club's television broadcasting agreement.

At that point, Moorad and his partners had two years remaining to complete purchase of the franchise from chairman John Moores, who has the controlling interest with a 51 percent stake. Moorad and his partners own a 49 percent stake, with the largest portion belonging to Moorad, according to a source.

"With Opening Day less than one month away, John Moores and I believe our top priority is to ensure that Padres fans will be able to watch broadcasts of what we believe is an exciting baseball team. I remain fully committed to the San Diego Padres and our fans and am looking forward to the 2012 season," Moorad said on March 9.

Moorad had a five-year deal during which he could purchase the team in its entirety. With the urging of Moores, Moorad accelerated that process by more than two years in January. Moorad previously confirmed that he was poised to make an all-cash transaction, and that the cash and the signed documents were in escrow.

But on Jan. 12, the approval of Moorad's purchase was tabled as Major League owners asked for clarification on several outstanding financial issues, Commissioner Bud Selig said at the time.

"We support this process and are very proud to be part of the process," Moorad said in January. "I look forward to answering some technical questions and moving it along. We got word that there were these questions, and we tried to answer them this morning. But it wasn't possible to work that quickly. I told them I was happy to defer and take it up at a more appropriate time."

Moorad and partners increased their original 35 percent ownership of the team to 49 percent in 2010. He originally brought in an ownership group of a dozen investors, including Troy Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, in 2009. The remaining $200 million-plus is coming from his current group and doesn't include any new investors.

As for the Padres' impending television deal with FOX Sports, no official announcement has been made, though the first Spring Training game was televised on March 17. The second broadcast is set for Friday, when the Padres face the Reds at 7:05 p.m. PT.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.