LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Dennis Petrullo, the longest-serving general manager in the KFC Yum! Center's history, has left his position and no longer works for management company AEG, officials said Monday.

AEG spokesman Michael Roth said in an interview that Petrullo departed last week but would not elaborate on the circumstances, citing a policy of keeping personnel matters private. He also declined to answer when asked directly if Petrullo resigned or was fired.

The change comes as the arena authority prepares to refinance its construction debt, seeking to make annual bond payments more affordable. Wall Street analysts last month noted AEG's guaranteed contribution of $1.5 million annually toward that debt as an "important" buffer against an economic downturn.

Petrullo had overseen the downtown arena for AEG since the Los Angeles-based company was hired by the Louisville Arena Authority in 2012 to replace the Kentucky State Fair Board two years after the arena opened. He could not be reached for comment Monday .

But Ed Glasscock, the arena authority's general counsel, said “it’s my understanding” that Petrullo resigned. He declined to speak about the reasons for the departure.

AEG officials at the Yum! Center referred questions to Roth. In a statement, Roth said Richard Krezwick, senior vice president of AEG Facilities, will act as interim general manager until Petrullo's replacement is named.

Scott C. Cox, the arena authority chairman, said Petrullo and AEG have done a "great job" during their time managing the arena.

"We trust that they will replace Mr. Petrullo with someone just as outstanding as he is, and I think that whoever ends up hiring Dennis is going to be very fortunate," Cox said.

Petrullo did not attend the arena authority's November board meeting. In June, Sports Business Journal named him one of the sports facilities industry's "Power Players," an honor that the magazine bestows based on factors that include "experience and leadership."

During Petrullo's tenure, the Yum! Center has ranked as high as 21st in the U.S. for ticket sales. AEG contributes to the finances of the Yum! Center through a guarantee of at least $1.5 million per year.

Reach reporter Marcus Green at 502-585-0825, mgreen@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.