Russell Reynolds Associates Recruits Executive Director for the NFL Players Association

June 30, 2023 – Russell Reynolds Associates has assisted in the recruitment of  Lloyd Howell as the fourth executive director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). He will succeed DeMaurice Smith, who is serving in his last term as the organization’s leader. “We are excited to have Lloyd lead our union into its next chapter and succeed DeMaurice Smith, who has ably led our organization for the past decade plus and has our gratitude and thanks,” said JC Tretter, president of NFLPA. “It was important for us to run a process that lived up to the prestige of the position we sought to fill. The process was 100 percent player led and focused on leadership competency, skills, and experience. Our union deserves strong leadership and a smooth transition, and we are confident Lloyd will make impactful advances on behalf of our membership.”

During his more than 34 years at Booz Allen Hamilton, Mr. Howell held a variety of leadership roles, most recently as treasurer and CFO. Additionally, he led the company’s civil and commercial group. He serves on the boards of Moody’s Corp. and General Electric Healthcare and is a trustee at the University of Pennsylvania.

The board of player representatives vote took place after a months-long and rigorous search process which was led by the NFLPA’s executive officers and Russell Reynolds, with general counsel Tom DePaso serving as legal counsel for the search committee. The process was executed in accordance with the NFLPA’s constitution and all board amendments, and exercised best practices in executive search and the union governance. An official start date for the new executive director will be in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

“I want to congratulate Lloyd Howell on his election as executive director of the NFL Players Association and to thank DeMaurice Smith for his continued partnership and unstinting work on behalf of NFL players,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Lloyd and his team to continue growing the game and making it better, safer, and more accessible and attractive to fans around the world.”

Related: Russell Reynolds Associates Recruits CEO for the Premier League

The NFL Players Association’s mission is to maximize the rights, health, well-being, and ultimate success of NFL players on and off the field. The organization works to ensure players receive fair wages, working conditions, and benefits throughout their careers and beyond.

Veteran Search Firm

Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory and search firm. Its 520-plus consultants in 47 offices work with public, private, and non-profit organizations across all industries and regions. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.

Russell Reynolds Associates Assists Penn State With Provost Search
Following a national search, Russell Reynolds Associates has assisted in the recruitment of Justin Schwartz as Pennsylvania State University’s permanent executive vice president and provost. During the search Dr. Schwartz held the position on an interim basis. “Justin is the right person to lead our academic enterprise to new levels of success, and I am thrilled that he is now a permanent member of the leadership team,” said Neeli Bendapudi, president of Penn State. “Justin is a forward-thinking, collaborative leader with a proven record of recruiting and retaining talented, diverse faculty and staff, and investing in their development; of facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations that span academic domains; and creating opportunities for student academic, career and life success.”

Russell Reynolds provides executive search services across all areas of the global media, entertainment, technology, and athletics markets. The firm’s consultants bring the experience and ability to assess competencies and cultural fit of board members, CEOs, senior functional leadership and players, with expertise in professional sports teams and leagues (CEOs, general managers, coaches and players); digital, media and entertainment; and technology-based start-ups.

NHLPA Search

Russell Reynolds recently assisted in the recruitment of U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh as the new executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA). He succeeded Donald Fehr, who has led the organization since 2010. The NHLPA formally began its search for Mr. Fehr’s replacement last April with a seven-player committee. The committee consisted of seven NHLPA members: Ian Cole (Tampa Bay Lightning), Justin Faulk (St. Louis Blues), Sam Gagner (UFA), Zach Hyman (Edmonton Oilers), Kyle Okposo (Buffalo Sabres), Nate Schmidt (Winnipeg Jets), and Kevin Shattenkirk (Anaheim Ducks).

Mr. Walsh served as Boston’s mayor from 2014 to 2021 before joining President Biden’s cabinet. He has an extensive labor background, including with the Boston Building Trades Council. The National Hockey League Players’ Association is the labor union for the group of professional hockey players who are under standard player contracts to the 32 member clubs in the National Hockey League located in the U.S. and Canada.

Related: Russell Reynolds Associates Assists Boston Symphony Orchestra to Find its First Female Leader

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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