Major League Baseball continues to struggle in its efforts to diversify the front offices of its teams, an issue that Commissioner Rob Manfred has stressed at the last few owners’ meetings.
Citing a conflict of interest, M.L.B. recently ended its relationship with a firm it had brought in to promote the hiring of candidates from minority groups, as USA Today first reported. Baseball is now relying more on in-house efforts to put more minority candidates into management jobs in front offices and on the field.
In August 2015, M.L.B. hired Korn Ferry, an executive search group, to help find and promote minority candidates through interview preparation, résumé writing, career planning and networking.
Individual teams also hired the company to help find top baseball executives. In some cases, the people whom Korn Ferry targeted on behalf of the individual clubs were not members of minority groups and were in direct competition with the candidates the firm was trying to help on behalf of M.L.B.
“Korn Ferry is a quality firm that does good work,” Manfred said. “It’s just clear that you have to be on one side or the other.”
After hearing objections from minority candidates over Korn Ferry’s dual role, M.L.B. dismissed the company and rededicated its efforts through its own Pipeline Program, headed by the senior director Tyrone Brooks.
The Pipeline Program seeks to identify, hire and promote candidates who are members of minority groups. Manfred is also trying to encourage the hiring of minority candidates at baseball’s lower levels.
“I am one hundred percent committed to the Pipeline idea,” Manfred said. “We need to do a better job of making sure we hire, at the entry levels, minority candidates that we can promote and develop. In addition to that, I have a bunch of ideas to explore in trying to be more scientific about identifying attributes that predict success in the hope that we can use those attributes to encourage clubs to look at different types of candidates.”
M.L.B. dismissed Korn Ferry during another off-season in which several teams have filled vacancies with nonminority candidates. The Arizona Diamondbacks hired Mike Hazen as their chief of baseball operations and Torey Lovullo as manager, and the Minnesota Twins hired Derek Falvey as their chief baseball officer and Thad Levine as general manager.