Ted Phillips’ retirement announcement was a game-changer for the future of the Chicago Bears.
Not so much for the present, mind you. After all, Phillips is staying on board as team president through February 2023. This gives the Bears some stability this season, while also clearing the runway for a new president to take over after Phillips steps away before the new league year begins next March. If that is to happen, that search needs to be underway already. And early reporting suggests that process is already ongoing.
But what is Chairman George McCaskey looking for in the next Bears president?
The Chicago Tribune’s Colleen Kane pulls from a Q&A with Chairman McCaskey (and Phillips), in which McCaskey lists “leadership, vision, humility, consensus building” as qualities he was looking for in the next Bears president. Additionally, the team is open to in-house candidates and people outside the walls of Halas Hall. Diversity in the pursuit of a new president will be welcome. McCaskey even seems open to the new president having experience in football and business. That McCaskey is offering this up now feels like a sign that he understands the importance of making the right hire.
Which leads us to ask what the job entails anyway?
Well, how about we get it straight from Phillips — who is leaving the position.
- “Someone that can make tough decisions. Someone who can handle a lot of different balls in the air on a daily basis because every day is different. Someone who understands what it means to be a Bear. Culture here is important.”
- “Someone that’s able to deal with different personalities from politicians to business leaders to the media. It’s not easy, so we need someone who can understand all those different dynamics.”
- “Someone who can groom younger people. I think about that because I got a lot of great opportunities when I was younger and through my whole career, obviously. So I love that, and I think that’s important for someone to be able to come in and listen more than they talk and learn from others, including those who aren’t at the same level as them.”
Publicly sharing qualifications and job description feels like another step toward making progress in finding the right candidate. The Bears should be in no rush to find Phillips’ replacement. Rushing into hires is an easy way to make the wrong one. Instead, the team should take a prudent approach. And they should definitely take into consideration everything McCaskey and Phillips list above.