Friday, June 01, 2007

Harlan on Jones

It has been a somewhat quiet week in Packerland, other than the Board meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation with President John Jones, his leave of absence, and making the necessary arrangements to keep CEO Bob Harlan in place despite the team's mandatory age 70 retirement rule. (Oh yeah, there are a series of voluntary team practices underway...more on that in another post.)

Harlan spoke at a news conference on Wednesday and indicated that he personally had seen possible management problems emerge with Jones last fall, but wanted to wait to see if they were resolved with time. They weren't. And other staff members came to Harlan with their concerns, as well. It was at this point that Harlan -- before stepping down as CEO and turning the reigns of the team over to his hand-picked successor, Jones -- decided he must tell the executive committee of the problem. It was then that the executive committee, acting on behalf of the full board of directors, placed Jones on leave. The full board unanimously affirmed the executive committee's decision on Wednesday.

It is still unclear as to exactly what these "management" problems and concerns were. The team made it clear, however, that there were no issues with personal conduct or ethics. What, then? According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Packers officials have not detailed what Jones did as a team executive that would have caused him to fall from favor. An NFL source has said that questions surfaced on Jones' ability to manage the franchise." That sure narrows it down, doesn't it?

What will become of Jones? Although it is possible he could return to the team it certainly would not be as CEO and might not even be as President. And whether he would want to or not after such a curious and public "leave" action remains to be seen. Look instead to other candidates arising for the positions. Expect the Packers to take their time, too. With Harlan remaining on, there is no rush to fill a job slot. The Packers will want someone with solid NFL experience and in particular an appreciation for what makes the Packers the Packers, and what will keep the team economincally viable; in other words, someone that will fight tooth and nail for continued revenue sharing and salary caps.