Updated 1:50 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Jan. 1
Several media outlets are reporting that Bills owner Ralph Wilson is giving up organizational control of the team. The team has a press conference scheduled for Tuesday at which it is expected to name Russ Brandon as team president/CEO. The president title formerly was Wilson's.
“Russ Brandon has done a tremendous job in his 16 years with our organization and is very highly respected throughout the National Football League," Wilson said. "He has proven to be extremely successful with each new level of responsibility he has been given and has earned this opportunity. Russ is a proven leader and he will now have full authority over the entire Buffalo Bills operation. I have granted him full autonomy to run the organization as he feels is best.
“These past 13 years have been very difficult on our fans and we have not produced the type of winning team that they deserve. It has been frustrating for our organization and for me as well. We want our team to be one that our fans are proud of. I believe that Russ has the unique abilities to assemble and lead the talent we will need to get the job done.”
Brandon has been a trusted voice to the 94-year-old Wilson on the business side of the Bills' operations but now he reportedly will have full authority to make football decisions as well. He previously served as the team's de facto GM from 2008-10 after Marv Levy retired and before the team hired Buddy Nix.
Reports say that Nix will keep his job as a bridge before handing the reins to assistant GM Doug Whaley.
“Russ Brandon is a dynamic, forward-thinking leader,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “He is a proven executive with extensive experience in the operation of the Bills. He is committed to the Buffalo region and understands the dynamics of the NFL. Ralph Wilson's decision is a positive step to enhance the stability of the franchise.”
In the spring of 2011, Goodell appointed Brandon to the NFL’s Business Ventures Committee, which is responsible for the oversight of various businesses of the league including consumer products, sponsorship and marketing.
Chris Koch, CEO of New Era Cap Company, said, “I’m excited for Russ Brandon and the Buffalo Bills with the information coming from their organization today. The Bills are the very fabric of the Western New York community and we have not only enjoyed a great business relationship with Russ and the Bills, but a genuine friendship as well. He is a very talented executive who has proven that he deserves this new role and he will do a fantastic job in leading the Bills organization in the right direction. Bills fans everywhere should be very excited.”
Head coach Chan Gailey was fired Monday after directing the Bills to a disappointing 6-10 record in 2012. His entire coaching staff also was fired.
By missing the postseason, the Bills extended their league-worst streak of 13 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance. They also have had a losing record for eight straight seasons.
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