New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Joe Banner will become CEO of the organization and President Mike Holmgren will leave the franchise and retire at the end of this season.
“Mike has decided to effective at the end of the year to leave the Cleveland Browns and to retire,” Haslam said this afternoon during a news conference after NFL owners unanimously approved his purchase of the Browns at about 10:40 this morning at the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Chicago. “Mike will work very closely with us over the next three or four months to ensure that this transition goes as well as possible. Mike and I have had numerous long talks, and I know that he has been and still is committed to doing everything he can to help make the Cleveland Browns a better football team.”
Banner’s role as CEO will become effective Oct. 25, the day Haslam expects the sale of the Browns to close. Haslam said he will introduce Banner during a news conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the team’s headquarters in Berea.
Banner, 59, became president of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2001 and stepped down in June. He has since held the title of strategic adviser to the owner.
Banner has a reputation for being a salary-cap guru and a tough contract negotiator, but he did not have a direct role in personnel decisions. Banner, though, will oversee football decisions in Cleveland, Haslam said.
“Football will report to Joe,” Haslam said. “We haven’t worked out all the final details, but football will report to Joe as the CEO. We will, as I mentioned earlier, be heavily involved."
Banner will not hold any percentage of the ownership, Haslam said.
Banner worked with Browns General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur when they were with the Eagles. Their futures remain uncertain, but Haslam reiterated he won’t make additional personnel changes until after this season. Haslam said he told them “no decisions have been made” when with them this past weekend.
“This is the only personnel change we’re gonna make until the end of the season, and I’m not at all saying we’re gonna make changes at the end of the season,” Haslam said. “But this is the only personnel change we’re gonna make and candidly we felt with Mike deciding that the role no longer fit him, we thought it was important to bring somebody in so we do have a good transition [and] we’re able to hit the ground running after the end of the season.”
Holmgren, 64, has served as the president of the Browns since January 2010. Holmgren’s contract pays him about $8 million a year and runs through 2014.
When asked if Holmgren will receive a settlement on the remainder of his contract, Haslam said, “Well, sure, and I’m not gonna talk about that. But I think it’s been a very amicable situation with Mike.”