CEO / Owner / Governor
Peter Karmanos Jr., is the principal owner/governor and chief executive officer of the Carolina Hurricanes, as well as the chairman and co-founder of MadDog Technology. Karmanos acquired the franchise on June 28, 1994—the afternoon of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. After three financially unsuccessful seasons in Hartford, Conn., and after an agreement on a new facility between the team and the state of Connecticut could not be reached, Karmanos announced he would relocate the franchise to Raleigh, NC, on May 6, 1997. There, Karmanos signed a 40-year lease with the city of Raleigh and the state.
Since their arrival in North Carolina, the Hurricanes have enjoyed tremendous all-around success. On the ice, the team has advanced to the Conference Finals three times in the last 10 seasons, capturing Eastern Conference titles in 2002 and 2006 and the Stanley Cup in 2006. Off of the ice, the Hurricanes have become a key component of the sporting landscape in North Carolina, and in 2009 were recognized as the top hockey franchise and second-ranked franchise in all of sports by ESPN in the “Ultimate Standings,” a collection of data and survey results that takes into account a team’s on-ice or on-field success, as well as its community impact and overall fan experience. The spotlight shined on the Hurricanes franchise again in January 2011, when the team and city of Raleigh earned tremendous praise for the successful 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend.
In the summer of 1998, Karmanos formed Gale Force Holdings to manage his hockey interests, which include the Carolina Hurricanes and PNC Arena; the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and Germain Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla.; and the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League and Compuware Arena. In the fall of 2011, a new subsidiary of Gale Force Holdings, LP, was created called Hurricanes Holdings, LLC, which features the Hurricanes and the management of PNC Arena. Since that time, 17 new investor groups have joined Karmanos in the ownership of Hurricanes Holdings, further solidifying the franchise’s financial structure.
Karmanos attended Wayne State University in Detroit. He founded Compuware in 1973 with two partners who, with Karmanos, pooled their tax return money to start the company. Karmanos’ initiative and business prowess were recognized in 1989 by the Institute of American Entrepreneurs, which named him Entrepreneur of the Year. In April 1999, Karmanos ensured that his company would not lose sight of its roots when he decided to relocate more than 4,100 highly-skilled jobs from Compuware’s headquarters in Farmington Hills, Mich., to Campus Martius, a business district in the heart of downtown Detroit. He retired from his position of executive chairman of Compuware in March 2013.
The same competitive spirit that led to Karmanos’ success as an entrepreneur also fuels his 30-year sponsorship of youth hockey programs. In Detroit, Karmanos sponsors the Plymouth Whalers (players ages 20-under), which was the first American club to play in the Ontario Hockey League. Compuware youth hockey programs, including the Plymouth Whalers, have produced many NHL stars over the years including Pat LaFontaine, Al Iafrate, Mike Modano, Eric Lindros and Kevin Hatcher. Countless youth hockey programs benefit each season through the efforts and sponsorship of Carolina Hurricanes and Compuware. In December 1997, Karmanos was chosen as one of four recipients of the Lester Patrick Award. Originating in 1966, the award is given annually to individuals who are recognized for “outstanding service to hockey in the United States.” In 2010, Karmanos received the Ontario Hockey League’s Bill Long Award, presented in recognition and appreciation of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the OHL, and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. In July 2013, USA Hockey announced that Karmanos had been selected for induction to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Hall’s class of 2013.
In addition to his business and hockey interests, Karmanos is widely known for his philanthropy, particularly in the area of cancer research. In 1995, Karmanos established the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, with donations that now total in excess of $60 million. The institute is one of only 39 in the United States granted “comprehensive cancer center” status by the National Institute of Health, and the only one of the 39 named after a woman.
Karmanos resides in the Detroit area with his wife Danialle, and their sons Socrates, Leonidas, Spiros and Aristides. He now has seven sons and nine grandchildren. Danialle—in addition to her ongoing work as a nationally acclaimed video producer—founded Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out (DKWIO). A 501(c)3 organization, DKWIO fights childhood obesity by providing kids with the tools they need to make healthy choices. By helping kids achieve health in mind, body and spirit, DKWIO has touched the lives of thousands of at-risk children in the Detroit and Triangle communities.
As an award-winning writer, producer and director, in 2008 Danialle was tapped by Governor Jennifer Granholm to serve on the newly-chartered Michigan Film Office Advisory Council. In a 2010 Michigan-wide election, Danialle was elected to serve an eight-year term on the Wayne State University Board of Governors. She also works tirelessly on behalf of the Karmanos Cancer Institute, partnering with the organization to develop memorable creative content. Her creative talents also led Danialle to become a founding member, Board member and past chair of the critically-acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). She also serves on the boards of the Michigan Opera Theatre and the College for Creative Studies, and is a trustee for the Parade Company, the non-profit organization responsible for the renowned America’s Thanksgiving Parade and numerous other family-oriented events in Metropolitan Detroit.