Jimmy Haslam III, whose $1.05 billion purchase of the Browns was unanimously approved by NFL owners Tuesday morning, didn’t waste much time in making his first major move. Within a few hours of the approval, Haslam replaced president Mike Holmgren with Joe Banner, according to a sources reporting to ESPN’s Ed Werder. Banner was president of the Eagles and had been with the organization for 18 years before departing in June. Haslam will hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the Banner move.
The news of Haslam’s approval was met with positive reactions from fans and analysts. ESPN’s Chris Fedor tweeted:
This is an incredibly exciting day to be a Browns fan. Everything starts at the top. Jimmy Haslam gives me hope that I didn't have w/ Lerner—
Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) October 16, 2012
Haslam, a Tennessee billionaire who earned his fortune from Pilot Flying J truck stops, has been a 12.5% minority partner in the Steelers since 2008 but divested that stock to buy the Browns, according to an NFL report. The Browns’ previous owner, Al Lerner, was voted in as owner in September 1998; when he died of a brain tumor in 2002, his son Randy Lerner took over. The team has had only two winning seasons since the Lerner family took over (9-2 in 2002 and 10-6 in 2007), and the franchise’s overall record since 1999 is 69-146 through Sunday’s win against the Bengals. Haslam has said his mission is to bring winning football back to Cleveland.