The Chicago Bears have employed Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren to be their president and CEO, the crew introduced Thursday.
Warren, who has been with the Big Ten for a little bit greater than three years, will supplant outgoing Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips, who’s retiring on the finish of February. Phillips has been with the Bears group for greater than 39 years, the final 24 within the president and CEO position.
In a press release, Bears Chairman George McCaskey known as Warren “a man of integrity, respect and excellence.” The crew will introduce Warren at a information convention Tuesday, and he’s anticipated to start in his position this spring.
“We welcome his perspective and diverse thought to lead this storied organization,” McCaskey mentioned. “He is a confirmed chief who has many occasions stepped outdoors of his consolation zone to problem establishment for unconventional progress and prosperity.
“In this role, Warren will serve in the primary leadership position of the franchise to help bring the next Super Bowl championship trophy home to Bears fans.”
Warren’s arrival comes at a landmark time within the group’s historical past with the Bears pursuing a grand enterprise to construct a brand new stadium. They are working to shut on a 326-acre piece of land at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights quickly with the property envisioned to turn into the house of not solely a brand new stadium however a big leisure district.
Warren, who was with the Minnesota Vikings group for 15 seasons earlier than leaving for the Big Ten, was instrumental in creating the imaginative and prescient for U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and seeing it via throughout his time because the crew’s Chief Operating Office. The Vikings opened that venue in July 2016. Less than two years later, additionally they moved into their new state-of-the-art follow facility and crew headquarters in Eagan, Minn. — one other challenge that had Warren’s fingerprints throughout it.
After Phillips introduced his plans to retire in September, McCaskey expressed eagerness to start a seek for a substitute with the assistance of search agency Nolan Partners, Phillips and Tanesha Wade, the Bears senior vice chairman for range, fairness and inclusion. McCaskey listed a number of key traits he’d be trying to find in a candidate together with management, imaginative and prescient, humility and consensus constructing.
“You look at the qualities of outstanding leaders, and we think we’re going to be able to bring in an exceptional candidate to succeed Ted and lead the Bears,” McCaskey mentioned in September.
Warren will be part of the Bears at a pivotal time. Not solely will he be accountable for overseeing the crew’s stadium challenge and ongoing enterprise ventures, however he will probably be anticipated to supply path to a whole constructing for a franchise that may have the No. 1 total choose for April’s draft.
The crew introduced Warren will oversee enterprise operations and normal supervisor Ryan Poles. Phillips had been the purpose individual for the hiring, firing and efficiency evaluations of the Bears normal managers till McCaskey assumed that oversight this season.
In a press release, Warren thanked the McCaskey household and Phillips for putting their belief in him.
“I am honored and recognize the responsibility bestowed upon me to lead the Chicago Bears during this exciting and pivotal time for the franchise,” Warren mentioned. “I look forward to building on the rich tradition that started with George Halas and connecting with the unique and vibrant fan base in Chicago. I join the Chicago Bears with gratitude and drive to carry out and build upon the legacy and spirit of this founding franchise and my predecessors.”
Poles mentioned in a press release that he believes Warren will probably be a “tremendous resource” as he rebuilds the Bears.
“In my time spent with him during the interview process, it quickly became apparent his résumé and business acumen will be a powerful asset to helping improve our organization and ultimately reach our goal to be a championship organization,” Poles mentioned.
During Warren’s time as Big Ten commissioner, his think-big mentality was evident. The convention finalized a record-setting media rights deal price greater than $7 billion in August. The convention additionally continued its enlargement efforts with wheels in movement for Southern California and UCLA to affix the league in 2024.
When Warren was employed to turn into Big Ten commissioner in 2019, Vikings homeowners Mark and Zygi Wilf lauded his management abilities. As a lawyer in 2005, Warren additionally represented the Wilf household and the present Vikings possession group of their buy of the crew.
“Kevin has impacted the Vikings and our family in immeasurable ways over the last 15 years,” the Wilfs mentioned in a press release. “He has worked tirelessly to elevate the Vikings franchise, all with the greater good of the organization and Minneapolis-St. Paul in mind.”
Warren formally took over the Big Ten job from Jim Delany in January 2020, and fewer than three months later confronted his first main problem in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The convention’s preliminary resolution to cancel the 2020 soccer season was controversial, however a nine-game season finally was performed after pushback from coaches and athletes, together with a petition by then-Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Warren instructed reporters in July 2021 that he didn’t remorse how he dealt with the scenario.
“Quite naturally, we all look back over our lives and there are things we wish we would have maybe done a little bit differently,” Warren mentioned. “But if I had the prospect to do it throughout final 12 months, I might make the identical choices that we made as a result of one of many issues that I’ve at all times tried to concentrate on … is ensuring we hold our student-athletes on the heart of all of our choices, athletically, academically, concerning school soccer playoff enlargement, relationships with our media companions, relationships with our bowl companions, all of these various things.
“If we put them at the epicenter of our decisions we’re going to be OK. And we did that last year at the Big Ten.”
ESPN reported the Big Ten has not given Warren a contract extension since his hiring.
Warren was a basketball participant at Penn and Grand Canyon University close to his native Tempe, Ariz., the place he was an Academic All-American. He earned an MBA from Arizona State and a regulation diploma from Notre Dame, was an NFL govt with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions earlier than the Vikings, and likewise labored as a sports activities agent.
Former Bears defensive lineman Chris Zorich was his first shopper.
“He is amazing,” Zorich instructed the Tribune in 2020. “No one will outwork him. He brings something extra to everything he does. If the (Vikings) stadium is four walls and a roof, he will make it four walls, a roof and a breastfeeding room.”
Warren was the primary Black commissioner of a Power Five convention and now turns into the primary Black President in Bears historical past. Phillips was the primary Bears president outdoors of the Halas/McCaskey household, with Michael McCaskey, George “Mugs” Halas, Jr., and George S. Halas serving within the position earlier than him.
Warren and his spouse, Greta, stay within the Chicago space and have two grownup youngsters, a daughter, Peri, and son, Powers.
In a press release, the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors thanked Warren for his “valuable service,” touting his roles within the convention’s enlargement and media rights deal in addition to his dedication to constructing inclusion and fairness and championing psychological well being and wellness.
“He has guided the conference with an innovative spirit, a passion for people and exceptional business acumen,” the council mentioned.
The council mentioned it would launch a nationwide seek for the Big Ten’s seventh commissioner and can work with Warren throughout the transition.
“The Big Ten Conference remains in a position of strength during this pivotal time in collegiate athletics,” the assertion mentioned. “And its world-class institutions remain committed to providing an exceptional experience for our student-athletes.”