The death of Upper Deck Chairman and CEO Richard McWilliam may have been a shock to many, but according to the company, he hadn’t been running the company’s day-to-day operations. That job has fallen to Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Jason Masherah.
On Monday, Sports Marketing and Social Media Manager Chris Carlin stated that the company will move forward despite being “heartbroken” by the loss of the man who helped found Upper Deck in the late 1980s.
“I want to assure you that while his departure is a hard emotional blow, it will not affect Upper Deck’s ability to fulfill the commitments and obligations we have made with our business partners,” he wrote in an email to associates and collectors.
“The company will carry forward Richard’s vision, and we intend to continue to introduce innovating and exciting products that will reinforce Upper Deck’s position as the leader of our industry. We appreciate your expressions of support and condolence, and look forward to working with you. We’re available to you for any questions or thoughts you may have.”
McWilliam’s company grew from a simple store front in southern California into a business that forged deals with some of the biggest names in sports history including Ken Griffey Jr., Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Tiger Woods and Lebron James. His cards forced rivals to step up their game and compete with the aggressive new entry that won the favor of millions of kids who became loyal adult collectors.
However, the company’s business practices also drew criticism under his leadership.
Here is some reaction from around the hobby including Tweets from current and former hobby pros, bloggers and those who worked with him.