Padres to make Caroline Perry one of highest-ranking female executives in MLB

The oldest of Caroline Perry’s two young daughters frequently states her intention to one day play baseball in the major leagues.

Whether or not Adeline, who is 8, breaks that barrier, she and her 6-year-old sister, Amelia, have a role model at home who is demonstrating what is possible.

“It’s tremendously meaningful to me — the idea that they’re going to grow up thinking they can do anything,” Perry said Tuesday. “… I love the fact they can view things that way.”

Perry, who has been with the Padres for almost 12 years, has been promoted to be the team’s Chief Operating Officer, making the Fallbrook High graduate the highest-ranking female employee in franchise history and one of the highest-ranking team executives in Major League Baseball.

Perry joins Marti Wronski of the Brewers as the only female COOs in MLB. Wronski was promoted earlier this month. In November, the Marlins made Caroline O’Connor their president of business operations. The Marlins also employ the only female general manager, Kim Ng. The Mariners’ Cati Griggs is the only other female serving as president of business operations.

“She is greatly respected by all her colleagues and all who report to her,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner said of Perry. “Her promotion is well-deserved, regardless of the fact she is a woman. But that is sort of the icing on the cake. That one of the most senior executives in our organization is a female, I think that sends an important message to all the females in our organization that there is an opportunity in our organization to rise.”

Perry will be the club’s third-ranking executive behind Greupner and President of Baseball Operations A.J. Preller. The only other woman to hold a higher position within the Padres was Joan Kroc, who owned the team from 1984 to ’90.

The team has been without a COO since Greupner was promoted from that position to president of business operations in 2019. He was named CEO in 2021.

Perry, a graduate of Stanford and Columbia Law School, began her career in finance and later worked as a corporate attorney. She worked for Davis Polk & Wardell, one of the country’s largest law firms, immediately before joining the Padres.

“It really hadn’t crossed my mind,” she said of working in professional sports. “I was a big sports fan, particularly of the football franchise that shall not be named. I was in college when the Padres went to the World Series in 1998. I remember watching games in my dorm room. I don’t think I ever really (considered) the idea you could work in sports when you weren’t working on the sports side, and being part of a sports team in particular had never crossed my mind.”

Perry saw a job posting for an associate general counsel for the Padres.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my childhood team, and I could come back to San Diego,’ ” she recalled. “That was one of the most exciting days of my life. I still vividly recall getting the call from Erik and him offering me the job.”

She was hired by Greupner shortly after he joined the team in 2010.

“She was my first hire,” Greupner said. “She’s just done an outstanding job over the last decade. That makes her historic promotion even more meaningful to the Padres and to me.”

In her current role as executive vice president for business affairs and general counsel, Perry has overseen the Padres’ legal, finance, government affairs and IT operations. She will now assume responsibility for ballpark operations and business strategy and analytics. She will continue to lead the franchise’s efforts to develop the Tailgate Park area.

“She is a trusted adviser to me and (team Chairman) Peter Seidler and A.J. Preller,” Greupner said.

The promotion will be officially announced within the organization Wednesday and Perry will assume the COO role Jan. 1.

“I’m really cognizant of what it means for any woman to get a senior position at a sports franchise,” she said. “I’m really proud to achieve that.”

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