Heather Davis replaces Merritt Paulson as Portland Timbers CEO

Lizzy Becherano
Heather Davis named Portland Timbers CEO.
Heather Davis named Portland Timbers CEO. / Soobum Im/GettyImages
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The Portland Timbers have appointed Heather Davis as the new chief executive officer. 

She originally joined the Timbers in May 2022 as general counsel. Davis will now oversee all business and operational aspects of the Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns FC and Providence Park.

“Heather has been nothing short of remarkable during her time here,” Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said in a statement. 

“She joined us during a challenging period and has overseen significant positive change for the club. We had tremendous external interest in this position, but Heather has earned the trust of our staff and I could not be more pleased to remove ‘Interim’ from her title. She will be an outstanding leader for our organization.”

Prior to her work with the Timbers, Davis spent nine years at the NFL league office serving as the lead counsel for international operations. 

Her work included NFL major events such as the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Draft and international games in London and Mexico. Notably, Davis drafted and led negotiations on the NFL’s stadium partnership with English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

“I am incredibly grateful for the support of our staff and for the confidence that Merritt has shown in me to lead this club,” Davis said in a release. 

“It is an extraordinary privilege to be entrusted to lead such a storied and successful franchise that means so much to so many in my home state. We will continue to do the work to be a first-in-class club that everyone can be proud of.”

She replaces Merritt Paulson, who stepped down from the role of CEO following the results of the Sally Q. Yates/NWSL investigation. The reports exposed his knowledge of former Portland Thorns manager Paul Riley’s abuse within the team. 

In addition to allegations made against Riley, the report detailed how the Portland organization sought to keep quiet the reasons for Riley's departure.


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