Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. announced Tuesday that Richard Peddie is retiring as a board member and president and CEO of the company effective Dec. 31, 2011. The company said an executive search committee has been formed to identify Peddie's successor and that internal and external candidates are being considered. "Richard took the helm of a two-team and one-venue organization in 1998 with a clear vision of transforming it into a world-class enterprise. His determination guided the company in its evolution into today's powerhouse with four teams, in three venues, on three networks across three professional sports leagues," Neil Petroff, executive vice-president and chief investment officer for the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, a major stakeholder in the company, said in a statement. "We all can thank Richard for his leadership in creating an exceptional sporting landscape that all of Toronto now enjoys." Peddie was named MLSE's inaugural president and CEO in February 1998 after the purchase of the Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Centre by Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. Under Peddie, MLSE grew to own the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto FC, the Toronto Marlies, Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada, and GOLTV Canada. He also led MLSE's private sector investment and involvement in the construction of soccer stadium BMO Field. "This is the right decision for me and I felt it was time. The last 13 years at MLSE have been terrific and a lot of fun,” Peddie said in a statement.