Korn Ferry Assists the Green Bay Packers with President and CEO Search

June 25, 2024 – Korn Ferry has assisted the Green Bay Packers with the recruitment of Edward R. Policy as its next president and CEO. He will succeed Mark Murphy, who will retire as the team’s president and CEO next year. Mr. Murphy is required to retire when he turns 70 in July 2025. The Korn Ferry team is led by Jed Hughes, who was involved with Spencer Stuart in the search that found Mr. Murphy, then athletic director at Northwestern University. Mr. Policy, who’s entering his 13th year overall with the organization and seventh as chief operating officer, was elected by the Packers board of directors as the franchise’s 11th CEO Monday morning in a unanimous vote, upon recommendation of the search committee led by chair Susan Finco and vice chair Dan Ariens.

“Congratulations to Ed on this well-deserved promotion to what I believe is the most unique and meaningful position in the world of professional sports,” said Mr. Murphy. “Ed has been a tremendous asset to the organization during his 12 years here and has been greatly instrumental in our success. His work on Titletown has been particularly impactful. He is highly respected – both in the building and within the NFL. I’ve enjoyed working with him and am confident he will be an excellent steward for the organization.

“In the coming year, he and I will continue to work closely together to ensure a smooth transition for our employees, players and fans,” Mr. Murphy said. “Thank you to the search committee for their thorough work in this process. I’m excited about this coming season and the future of the Packers.”

The organization’s expansive and inclusive search, which followed NFL guidelines that apply to team executive positions, began with initial work by the executive committee in early 2023 and continued with the formation of the search committee in May. A subsequent search process and timeline was established to follow NFL requirements that interviews with candidates currently in league and team positions occur only between the end of the NFL season in February through the start of training camp in July.

“Our board thanks the search committee for the many hours of work they put into this process,” said Ms. Finco. “Each and every member shared their expertise and valuable insights as we worked collaboratively throughout the search. We unanimously agreed that Ed Policy is an excellent person to lead our organization, has an inspiring and innovative vision of the future, and gives us great continuity of leadership that will allow for a seamless transition.”

The search committee worked through a list of more than 90 prospects, applicants and referrals, with a number of high-quality candidates considered from across the NFL, sports, business and entertainment. The committee then conducted virtual and in-person interviews in June which led to the recommendation of Mr. Policy.

“We had a responsibility to the organization, its employers and players; to our shareholders, fans and community, as well as the NFL: to conduct a comprehensive, inclusive search in order to identify the best candidate who can lead our organization into the future,” said Mr. Ariens. “Ed brings incredible talents and skills to this role, as he has demonstrated throughout his career with the Packers.”

Related: Recruiters Offer Sports Clients an Expanding Talent Platform

The Green Bay Packers are the third-oldest franchise in the NFL, dating back to 1919, and is the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team based in the United States. Home games have been played at Lambeau Field since 1957. They have the most wins of any NFL franchise.

An Inside Look at the World of Sports Recruiting
Given the search industry’s knack for finding a need and filling it, it was only natural that recruitment firms would soon step to the fore in the sports sector, which has become a growth area for executive search businesses. Many C-suite-focused recruiting firms are now active in the sector and some specialize only in the sports field itself. In what is seen as a growing trend, sports organizations continue to look outside their respective leagues – and countries – to find executive talent. With so many changes in the sports industry in recent years, executive search firms have stepped up to better understand what type of leaders are needed in the sector.

“When I think of the changes in the sports industry over the past 10 years, I think of new technology and platforms, emphasis on fan experience, engagement, and facility upgrades, increased focus on data capture and analytics, and an emphasis on international growth and global expansion,” said Kevin Carmichael, partner at Prodigy Search. “I’ve also noticed the evolution of ownership groups wanting to diversify their holdings to include multi-team and various business interests – like HBSE, Elevate, MSE, KSE – similar to the traditional MSG, AEG, MLSE models.”

Mr. Hughes, vice chairman, global sector leader, sports at Korn Ferry, is well known for identifying, assessing and developing leaders for sports organizations. His relationships in sports and intercollegiate athletics are extensive, having spent 20 years coaching in professional and intercollegiate football and working for five hall of fame coaches. He also led the development of psychological testing, competency development and structural behavioral interviewing for the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers.

Mr. Hughes has also conducted searches for the USOC, LPGA, PGA of America, Seattle Seahawks, Arsenal Football Club, Liverpool Football Club, Ohio State, ATP Tour and Women’s Tennis Association, among others. Jason Belzer of Forbes has called Mr. Hughes the most valuable connector of the sports industry.

Korn Ferry’s sports practice has conducted a number of prominent searches in the field, including commissioner for the NFL. Other work for the NFL includes placing Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, former New York Jets general manager John Idzik, as well as Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.

Related: Executive Recruiters Continue Their Expansion into the Sports Industry

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief and Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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