Kevin Payne's tenure as president and general manager of Toronto FC lasted nine months. The MLS team reassigned Payne -- in much the same way as its MSLE ownership group handled Brian Burke's exit from the NHL Maple Leafs and Bryan Colangelo's parting with the NBA Raptors.
Payne, who was hired in November a day after resigning from DC United, will remain with the club to assist in its widespread front-office transition, which reportedly will continue with more announcements on Thursday.
Coach Ryan Nelsen reportedly will retain his position. He was announced as the club's coach while under contract as a Queens Park Rangers player.
From the Toronto Star:
“I’m disappointed, but this is the way this business works,” Payne said Wednesday. He will remain in Toronto for the month before returning to his home in Washington, D.C.
“I’m going to help the team through a transition period. I don’t want to — I won’t — turn my back on this club.”
Payne, 60, was hired by interim MLSE boss, Tom Anselmi and reportedly came highly recommended by Major League Soccer execs. While he was tasked with reinventing the struggling franchise's play, Toronto FC remains one of the league's worst teams and unlikely to end its franchise-long postseason drought.
New MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke eventually lost faith in Payne.
“I was a little bit surprised, but I understand that Tim wants to move — not in a dramatically different — but in a somewhat different direction,” Payne said.