Posted: 2/11/2013 4:49 PM
At Haslam’s introductory press conference as Browns future owner on Aug. 3, he was asked how much time he intended to spend in Cleveland on football business.
“We’ll split our time between Knoxville and Cleveland,” Haslam said. “I’m still going to be CEO of Pilot Flying J. It’s a big company and I’ll spend a pretty good amount of time running that, but we’ll take, as I said earlier, whatever time necessary in Cleveland really to do two things: one, to bring a winner back here, but number two, to become a part of the Cleveland community.”
The only reasonable conclusion you can reach is that Haslam has spent enough time walking the halls of Berea, examining the books, and, yes, sitting in on personnel meetings, to realize there is a lot of work to be done immediately with the Browns.
Former Browns owner Randy Lerner was criticized for being an absentee landlord. New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam suddenly is, well, an absentee landlord.
Six months after stepping down as CEO of Pilot Flying J, Haslam has returned, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Haslam replaces former PepsiCo president John Compton, who will remain as a strategic adviser. (Which could mean he’ll eventually fade away quietly in lieu of being publicly poop-canned now.)
Still, Haslam is saying, “It’s not him, it’s me.” Sort of.
“This is about me realizing my first love is running Pilot Flying J and wanting to return to that job,” Haslam said.
In a statement released to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, spokesman Neal Gulkis said of Haslam’s move, “It’s not going to affect his involvement with the team nor is it going to have any impact on the operations of the Browns.”
As a practical matter, however, the move nudges CEO Joe Banner into the Mike Holmgren role. With Haslam out of the picture on a day-to-day basis and ensconced in the family business that helped him earn the money to buy the Browns, Banner is now the lead dog in the Dawg Pound.