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John Stanton - GeekWire Startup Day 2016
John Stanton speaks at GeekWire Startup Day 2016.

Editor’s note: This story and headline were updated to reflect the official team announcement.

The Seattle Mariners announced huge leadership changes today, with long-time CEO Howard Lincoln stepping down and Nintendo of America selling its majority stake in the team.

Seattle-Mariners-logoReplacing Lincoln this August will be wireless pioneer and Microsoft board member John Stanton, who was previously a minority owner of the Mariners and will become the “controlling party” of the existing ownership group made up of 17 minority owners.

Nintendo of America will retain a 10 percent stake in the team.

At a press conference announcing the news, Stanton called his new role “perhaps the supreme honor for me in my career.” He thanked his family and the fans.

“I hope and expect that we will win a World Series in Seattle,” said Stanton, who grew up in Seattle and graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.

[Follow-up: Meet John Stanton: What you need to know about the new Mariners CEO]

The Seattle Times first reported the major leadership changes on Wednesday. The team’s valuation, which includes Root Sports Network, is $1.4 billion.

“John is one of the most widely respected and admired businessmen men in our state and across the country,” said Lincoln, who will retire in August.

During his career in the technology industry, Stanton has led companies ranging from VoiceStream Wireless (the predecessor of the modern day T-Mobile) to Clearwire Corp. and worked as a top executive at McCaw Cellular, in addition to founding Trilogy Equity Partners, among many other roles. Stanton has also taken on a new roles in the past two years, serving as a member of the Microsoft board of directors, in addition to joining Costco’s board.

It’s worth noting that Stanton is also a former minority owner of the Sonics, Seattle’s former NBA team, and teamed up with ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to keep the team from leaving town in 2008.

Stanton spoke on stage at GeekWire Startup Day this past February. We’ve reached out to him for comment. We’ll have more on this developing story later today.

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