Kevin Warren jumps from Big Ten to become Bears president, CEO

Kevin Warren Jumps From Big Ten To Become Bears President, Ceo
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, US; Big Ten Conference commissioner Kevin Warren speaks to the media during the Big Ten Basketball Media Days at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is the new president and CEO of the Chicago Bears.

Warren, 59, was named Big Ten commissioner in 2000 following 15 years with the Minnesota Vikings. The first minority commissioner of the Big Ten, Warren was a pioneering executive in the NFL in positions with the then-St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions and advanced from a role as legal counsel to become the first African-American Chief Operating Officer of an NFL franchise with the Vikings in 2015.

“I am honored and recognize the responsibility bestowed upon me to lead the Chicago Bears during this exciting and pivotal time for the franchise,” Warren said. “I look forward to building on the rich tradition that started with George Halas and connecting with the unique and vibrant fanbase in Chicago. I join the Chicago Bears with gratitude and drive to carry out and build upon the legacy and spirit of this founding franchise and my predecessors.”

Warren “begins official league business in the spring,” the Bears said in a statement Thursday.

His third and latest stop in the NFC North keeps Warren in Chicago, where the Big Ten conference offices are based. Warren’s title will also include CEO, per NFL Network.

“Kevin is going to be a tremendous resource and I am excited to get started with him,” said general manager Ryan Poles. “In my time spent with him during the interview process, it quickly became apparent his resume and business acumen will be a powerful asset to helping improve our organization and ultimately reach our goal to be a championship organization.”

Warren helped the Big Ten navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, negotiate a massive increase in broadcast and streaming rights and add prominent programs to the conference. USC and UCLA are scheduled to join the Big Ten as part of Warren’s vision to move beyond a regional conference.

The Bears hired a then-36-year-old Poles as the franchise’s seventh general manager one year ago. Chicago and the Washington Commanders, under the direction of president Jason Wright and general manager Martin Mayhew, are the only NFL teams whose president and general manager are Black.

A recent trend away from diverse hires has become a focus for the NFL league office. Commissioner Roger Goodell commended the Las Vegas Raiders and Vikings for hiring minority candidates last offseason, when Sandra Douglass Morgan became president of the Raiders and the Vikings named Kwesi Adofo-Mensah general manager.

The Bears have operated for decades with Ted Phillips as president. In 1999, he became the fourth team president in franchise history, following George “Papa Bear” Halas, George Halas Jr. and Michael McCaskey.

McCaskey’s brother, George, remains team chairman. George McCaskey is the son of Edward McCaskey and Halas’ grandson.

The daughter of founder George S. Halas, team owner Virginia McCaskey — who was Edward’s wife — celebrated her 100th birthday on Jan. 5. Virginia McCaskey has been principal owner of the team since her father’s death in 1983.

–Field Level Media