Bobcats' marketing chief leaving

The head marketing executive for the Charlotte Bobcats is leaving, and Fred Whitfield – the NBA team's president and chief operating officer – will take on more responsibilities, Whitfield said Tuesday.

Greg Economou, the team's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, and the Bobcats mutually decided that he would leave the team Tuesday, Whitfield said.

“I can't stress strongly enough that it was mutual and it was amicable,” Whitfield said.

In addition, he said, Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins will now report to Whitfield, whose office will oversee basketball operations in addition to business operations. Jared Bartie, the team's chief administrative officer and general counsel, also will take on a bigger role, Whitfield said.

“We really wanted to look at our organization and be able to operate as efficiently as possible,” he said.

Whitfield said there was no specific reason or incident that led to Economou's departure. “It was sort of a meeting of the minds on both parties,” he said, adding that the team hasn't decided whether to fill Economou's position.

Economou joined the Bobcats in September 2006 and oversaw marketing, including merchandising, advertising, broadcast operations, community and charity relations, communications, ticket sales and partnership marketing. Previously he was a senior vice president of marketing and communications for the NBA.

Higgins had reported to Bobcats executive vice president Bernie Bickerstaff, who left the team in May, Whitfield said. Bickerstaff was the team's coach and general manager/president of basketball operations in its first three seasons before changing roles last year.

Whitfield said shifting basketball operations to his office doesn't change either Higgins' role as general manager or that of Michael Jordan, the Bobcats' managing member of basketball operations.

“He still has the final decision” on players, Whitfield said of Jordan. “Nothing's changed in that regard.”