John Roth, the newly appointed chief operating officer of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, was fired on Wednesday along with the Bills’ general counsel, Kathryn D’Angelo, because the two were in a romantic relationship, a person briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because the teams have not announced the dismissals. The Athletic first reported the firings.
In a joint telephone interview with The AP on Wednesday night, Roth and D’Angelo confirmed they were dismissed without going into detail. They said they enjoyed their time working for the teams’ owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, as well as Terry’s daughter, Laura.
“Both Kathryn and I wish the Pegulas the best of luck and we think the world of Terry, Kim and Laura, and the rest of the team,” Roth said, referring to his staff. “And we will be cheering the Bills and Sabres on from afar.”
Roth was appointed COO of the Bills in July following a management shakeup involving both teams. As part of the shakeup, Terry Pegula created a three-person committee made up of Roth, D’Angelo and Josh Dziurlikowski, senior VP of finance and business administration, to run the Bills, with each reporting directly to ownership.
The three replaced Ron Raccuia, who was overseeing the day-to-day operations of both franchises and played a lead role in negotiating the Bills’ new $1.54-billion stadium deal with the state and Erie County.
Roth first came on board in January, when he was appointed Sabres COO after spending the previous 24 years at Fidelity Investments. It was at Fidelty where Roth worked as an investor and portfolio manager and began working with Terry Pegula about 12 years ago.
D’Angelo came up through the Bills’ management ranks. She was hired in 2016 and promoted to general counsel earlier this year.
The Pegulas have experienced several shakeups involving top management at Pegula Sports and Entertainment, the parent company created in 2014 to oversee their holdings after they purchased the Bills, three years after buying the Sabres.
PSE was dissolved in August to allow the Bills and Sabres to be run separately with Terry Pegula as president of both franchises.
In May 2018, Russ Brandon abruptly resigned his dual role as Bills and Sabres president after having an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.
Less than a year later, PSE announced the departures of COO Bruce Popko, Chief Administrative Officer Brent Rossi and Executive Vice President Erica Muhleman. Dozens of employees, including executives, were either fired or laid off in cost-cutting moves related to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
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