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Fire president Julian Posada stepping down at end of year

The PortlTimbers' DarlingtNagbe (6) fights for ball with Fire's Logan Pause Sunday. | Brent Wojahn~AP

The Portland Timbers' Darlington Nagbe (6) fights for the ball with the Fire's Logan Pause on Sunday. | Brent Wojahn~AP

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Updated: January 21, 2013 4:03PM

In keeping with the team’s history of turnover, Fire owner Andrew Hauptman announced Wednesday in an open letter that president Julian Posada would be “stepping down” at the end of the year.

Posada was the sixth president in the Fire’s 15-year history, including current president of soccer operations Javier Leon’s interim stints in 2008 and 2010. Posada had held the position for just over two years.

Since Hauptman bought the team in 2007, there have been four presidents.

Posada will remain with the team as a consultant in 2013. The Fire won’t replace Posada but will hand off the day-to-day management of business operations to chief operating officer Atul Khosla.

“As a core member of our front office, Julian has played an important role in steering the club on a path for success — helping to reconnect the Fire to the city of Chicago, championing a culture of service and fan experience and building a new and seasoned management team to run the business,” Hauptman said in the letter. “I thank him for all of his contributions to the Fire, and I am glad that he will stay close to us over the coming year.”

The Fire has been mum on the reasons for the resignation, saying only that Posada resigned to “pursue other opportunities.” Multiple requests by the Sun-Times to speak with Fire front-office personnel and coach Frank Klopas were denied.

Posada was hired as president Sept. 10, 2010.

According to Hauptman’s letter, Posada gradually had passed along his responsibilities to others in the front office — the process beginning a little more than a year after he signed on as president.

There’s reason to believe this was a cost-cutting move.

It wouldn’t be the first financially driven move the Fire has made in the last four months. On Aug. 30, the Fire allowed midfielder Marco Pappa, its best player, to leave on a transfer to SC Heerenveen in the Netherlands — a move that provided a financial windfall but contributed to the Fire’s collapse over the last month of the season.

The Fire’s balance of power shifts back to Leon, who will hold the highest front-office title. Leon began this past season as managing director of Andell Sports Group, the Fire’s holding company. It wasn’t until the middle of this season that Leon inconspicuously added the title of president of soccer operations.

By eliminating one of its highest-ranking front-office positions, the Fire presumably could reallocate that money to its roster. It’s unclear whether the Fire intends to redistribute Posada’s salary into other facets of the organization.

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