NFL Names Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke First COO Since Goodell

  • Leiweke resigns from Lightning after five seasons with team
  • Previously spent seven years as CEO of NFL's Seattle Seahawks

Tod Leiweke, the chief executive of hockey’s Tampa Bay Lightning, has been named the National Football League’s Chief Operating Officer, a position unfilled since Roger Goodell was promoted to commissioner in 2006.

Leiweke, 55, resigned Friday from the Lightning and will transition to the NFL next month, according to a statement on the team website.

“The intent had been to fill the position at the right time with the right
person,” NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an e-mail. “The timing was right as the breadth of our business and opportunities has grown over the past several years. Tod is the perfect fit.”

Leiweke had been in the Lightning front office for the past five years, working under team owner Jeff Vinik. Tampa Bay advanced to the Stanley Cup final this year, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

“I am excited to join the NFL and work with Roger Goodell in this unique national position, but I will always feel a part of this great community,” Leiweke said of Tampa in the statement.

Leiweke became a minority owner in the National Hockey League team when he was hired to run its day-to-day business operations. Today’s resignation is a full separation from the franchise, team spokesman Bill Wickett said in an e-mail.

Vinik hired Leiweke away from the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, where he served as CEO for seven years. He also previously ran Paul Allen-owned Vulcan Sports & Entertainment, which oversaw, among other properties, the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer.

Leiweke’s brother, Tim, is president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, and Toronto FC of MLS.

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