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Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren Named Bears President, CEO

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 12: Commissioner Kevin Warren of the Big Ten speaks to media during Big Ten Media Days at Target Center on October 12, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has been named the next president and CEO of the Chicago Bears.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported the move was expected.

Warren had previously served as the Minnesota Vikings' chief operating officer before becoming the Big Ten commissioner in 2019. He also worked with the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams before joining the college ranks.

The 59-year-old is set to replace Ted Phillips, who previously announced his plans to retire in February after 40 seasons with the organization. He has been the team's president since 1999.

The Bears went just 3-14 this past season in the first year under head coach Matt Eberflus, the most losses in franchise history. There is also uncertainty off the field with the team's future at Soldier Field in doubt.

ESPN's Pete Thamel first reported on Warren's status as a strong candidate in December, noting his experience helping the Vikings build U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016.

Warren has also made significant moves during his short stint with the Big Ten. He helped bring major programs USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 to the conference before landing a seven-year, $7 billion TV rights deal with Fox, CBS and NBC that will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

Despite his success, Thamel reported Thursday that the Big Ten "made no tangible push to keep" Warren and his "approval rating with conference athletic directors remains low."

A majority of school presidents and chancellors have left since Warren was hired by the conference in 2019.

Thamel listed deputy commissioner Diana Sabau, general counsel Anil Gollahalli and ACC commissioner Jim Phillips as possible candidates to replace Warren, but noted the search could be difficult to predict.