Ascent CEO steps down, returns to business

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Charles Neinas has stepped down as chief executive officer of Ascent Entertainment Group Inc. to return to his sports consulting business.

The company will be run by committees of its board of directors until a new CEO is hired or its sports assets, the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche and the Pepsi Center, are sold.

Ascent hired Neinas in June after CEO Charles Lyons was forced out over a failed $400 million deal to sell the sports assets to billionaires William and Nancy Laurie.

He agreed to serve until the assets were sold to Denver financier Donald Sturm, but that deal collapsed because Sturm and city officials failed to reach an agreement over his purchase of the Pepsi Center.

''Chuck stepped into a difficult situation,'' said Arthur Aaron, Ascent general counsel. ''He was put in place to get a deal done and it didn't happen because the buyer didn't want to get it done.''

He said officials are continuing the search for a qualified buyer for the arena and two sports teams.

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