Stadium concessionaire Centerplate listened to its employees, clients and customers, then decided to replace its CEO after a video showed him abusing a dog.
Desmond Hague resigned from the post as a result of his “personal misconduct involving the mistreatment of an animal in his care,” the company announced Tuesday.
Centerplate handles food service for the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, and other sports venues across the continent.
The move comes after an “extended review of the incident” by Centerplate’s board of directors, who appointed chief operating officer Chris Verros as acting chief executive.
“I’d like to apologize for the distress that this situation has caused to so many,” chairman Joe O’Donnell said.
The Connecticut-based company found itself in the crosshairs of outrage from clients, sports fans and animal welfare activists, some seeking Hague’s dismissal after the video went viral.
A petition calling for Hague’s firing on Change.org had more than 190,000 signatures by Tuesday.
“Their voices helped us to frame our deliberations during this very unusual and unfortunate set of circumstances,” O’Donnell said.
Last Wednesday, the company placed Hague on probation, noting any further acts of misconduct would result in immediate termination.
As a condition of his employment, Hague was also required him to make a $100,000 donation to establish a Vancouver animal charity foundation and serve 1,000 hours of community service in support of an animal welfare organization.
The status of the foundation was unknown. Last week, Centerplate said it would contribute a portion of its sales to the foundation “as a strong sign of our conviction” that it “in no way condones the mistreatment of animals.”
Hague still faces possible charges in Vancouver, where an apartment elevator surveillance camera recorded him kicking and angrily yanking on a 1-year-old Doberman.
After the video went viral, Hague expressed shame, saying “a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control.”
The video was made public after it was emailed by a “concerned citizen” to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which investigated the incident.