Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam named former Philadelphia Eagles President Joe Banner as his new chief executive officer and ousted team President Mike Holmgren yesterday, hours after approval of his $1 billion purchase of the team.
Banner joined the Eagles when Jeffrey Lurie bought the team in 1994 and helped manage Philadelphia to National Football League playoffs in 11 of his 17 full seasons, second to the Indianapolis Colts over that time.
He also helped develop salary cap management strategies that have been copied throughout the league, and with Lurie hired Andy Reid as coach in 1999. The Eagles went to five conference championship games during Banner’s tenure, though they never won a Super Bowl title.
“His track record in Philadelphia is outstanding,” Haslam said, according to the Browns’ website. “His commitment, work, drive, passion and intelligence to help make the Browns a winner is something that we’re very excited about.”
Holmgren, who coached the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowls, joined the Browns in January 2010 and played a role in hiring coach Pat Shurmur.
He will stay with the team through the end of the season and then retire, Haslam said at a press conference. The new owner said he won’t make any other personnel changes until at least the end of the season.
“Mike will work very closely with us over the next three or four months to ensure that transition goes as well as possible,” Haslam told the team’s website. “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.”
The Browns got their first victory of the season two days ago, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 34-24 to move to 1-5. Cleveland, which finished last season 4-12, has gone to the playoffs once since returning to the NFL in 1999.
The Akron Beacon Journal reported in September that Holmgren said he intended to finish his contract, which ran through 2014 and paid him about $8 million a year.
The front-office shake up came hours after NFL owners unanimously approved Haslam’s purchase of the Browns from Randy Lerner. The sale will close Oct. 25, according to Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN.
Haslam made his money with Pilot Flying J truck stops and has been a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He sold that stake when he bought the Browns.