Arthur Blank to hire CEO to oversee all businesses, including Falcons
Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
Atlanta Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank plans to hire a chief executive officer to oversee all of his for-profit businesses, including the Falcons, he said in a statement released to ESPN.com on Wednesday night.
Blank, who turns 73 next month, has a list of businesses that includes the Falcons, MLS Atlanta, PGA Tour Superstore, The Arthur Blank Family Foundation, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch and AMB Group. The multibillionaire is the co-founder of Home Depot, from which he retired in 2001.
"I have a strong desire to spend more quality time with my family, which now includes four-going-on-five grandchildren, as well as to concentrate more of my time on our philanthropic endeavors," Blank said. "And while I will always be heavily involved in our business strategies, I now feel that the best role I can play in our businesses is one of founder, chairman and most senior cheerleader, spending less time on the day-to-day management oversight.
"I think it's a healthy time for somebody else to take the reins in terms of certain responsibilities within our organization. Our businesses are strong and I'm in good health, which makes this a terrific time to make this move and allow me to be able to back away a bit and start putting check marks on my bucket list."
The exact timetable for Blank hiring a CEO remains unclear.
"We will be thoughtful and deliberate in filling this position, as finding the right person is more important than finding someone soon," Blank said. "This person needs to pass the cultural fit test, and it's also important to me that he or she is capable of retaining, motivating and developing the teams that we have in place in all of our businesses."
Rich McKay is in his fourth year as the president and CEO of the Falcons and has been instrumental in the construction of the $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is set to open in 2017. Where McKay will stand in the hierarchy of power following Blank's hiring of the new CEO remains unclear. Last year, McKay signed a four-year contract extension through 2019.
McKay currently awaits reinstatement to the NFL's competition committee. He was suspended after the league found former director of marketing Roddy White guilty of illegally piping crowd noise into the Georgia Dome the previous two seasons.
"He's not reinstated yet, but he has a meeting shortly with the folks in New York," Blank told ESPN.com. "I've spoken to the commissioner and other folks about it. [McKay] has my support. And the league knows how I feel about it."
The news of Blank's intention to hire an all-encompassing CEO was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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Will be curious who he hires, although I'm sure it's not going to really have that much of a major effect on the football side of things. Since McKay, Dimitroff and Quinn are running the show. But Blank did say upon hiring DQ, that he'd report to him. Assuming will the new CEO be a part of that?
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