Mike Dee isn't just returning to his baseball roots, but to the place where it all started for him -- San Diego.

On Wednesday, the Padres named Dee their team president and chief executive officer. He is certainly no stranger to the organization.

Dee worked for the team from 1995-2002. He was part of the front-office group that followed former team president and CEO Larry Lucchino to the Red Sox.

Dee was the Padres' executive vice president of business affairs his final three years in San Diego. All told, he's spent 15 years working in baseball.

Dee previously was the CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, a position he took in 2009.

"Mike's enthusiasm, his love for San Diego, his love of the Padres. ... He's going to be an extraordinary leader for the new ownership group," said Dan Novak, vice president of global marketing, public relations and communications for Qualcomm.

Dee rejoins the Padres with a long-standing relationship with Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler. Dee also worked for three years with Padres general manager Josh Byrnes, who worked in Boston's front office during Dee's tenure with the Red Sox.

Dee was hired to replace Tom Garfinkel, who resigned as the team's president and CEO last week after holding the post since 2009.

Scott Marshall, the Padres' vice president of concessions and retail, first got to know and work with Dee when he was with Centerplate, which is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world.

"I honestly believe there's no better candidate than Mike Dee," Marshall said. "His energy and passion are unmatched. He's committed to three things: to a championship, fan engagement and community.

"When Mike came here in 1995, he got to our market, which is dynamic and unique, very quickly. He's an incredible innovator. His attention to detail is phenomenal."

Dee's previous tenure featured the planting of the palm trees that lined the outfield at Qualcomm Stadium, incorporating different logos and having unique promotions that helped attract crowds in excess of 50,000, particularly in 1996, into their Mission Valley ballpark.

Dee also spearheaded efforts in developing strong ties and programs to the Hispanic community in San Diego, Tijuana and Baja California. It was during that time the team played regular-season games in Mexico in 1996 and 1999.

Dee played an integral role in helping generate public and corporate support that led to the approval and construction of the team's downtown ballpark, Petco Park, which opened before the 2004 season.