The Orioles are hiring a former MGM Resorts International executive to serve as the Major League Baseball organization’s executive vice president of public affairs, a move meant to bolster Baltimore’s executive team as the organization works toward a new lease for Camden Yards and plans for development around the iconic stadium.

Kerry Watson, who served as MGM’s regional vice president of government affairs for the last three years, will join the Orioles to oversee the franchise’s governmental affairs, communications, community development and creative content, The Baltimore Banner has learned.

The Orioles are also promoting longtime executive Greg Bader to become the chief operating officer and are expanding the job scope of Lisa Tolson, senior vice president of human relations, in a role dubbed chief people officer.

Watson could not be reached for comment, and the Orioles had not responded to a request for interviews with Bader and Tolson at the time of publication.

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The moves come at a critical juncture for the team. The Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards is set to expire at the end of this year, although Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has reiterated his belief that a deal will be finalized before the deadline.

Team Chairman John Angelos has said he has a vision for redeveloping the area around the ballpark and parts of downtown Baltimore, though a specific plan hasn’t been shared publicly. He sought an additional $300 million on top of the $600 million already promised by the state, as well as development rights for the public lands near the stadium, but the state has declined.

Watson is seen internally as an integral piece of what’s to come, given his experience working within public and private entities.

Watson was raised in Maryland and has experience in Annapolis. Before joining MGM, Watson served as a governmental relations consultant for Alexander & Cleaver, a lobbying and law firm based in the state’s capital, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also worked as a senior adviser to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. And, prior to beginning a government affairs career, Watson had a 20-year career with the Prince George’s County Police Department.

“Kerry understands Maryland and the stakeholders and leaders who guide decisions,” said a person familiar with Watson’s role but not authorized to speak publicly on the position. “He can also function as an ambassador for the club as it really makes a deeper investment into the community with the development that is on the horizon.”

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Bader has worked for the Orioles since he was a public relations intern in 1994, and his responsibilities have grown over the years. He has been a close partner of the Angelos family and has served as the senior vice president of administration and experience since 2019. Now, as COO, Bader will oversee the day-to-day business of the Orioles.

Those responsibilities include revenue, operations, Orioles entertainment and broadcasting.

Cal Perry, a longtime television journalist, was hired in December as senior vice president and chief content officer, and had been helping to oversee broadcasting. A spokesperson for Angelos declined to comment on the specifics of Perry’s role given the recent changes.

Tolson, who has worked for the Orioles for 38 years, will now be responsible for all human resources at the club.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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