Packers chief to take leave of absence

Packers president and chief operating officer John Jones was expected to take over for team chairman and CEO Bob Harlan on June 1, but the Packers announced today that Jones will be taking a one-year paid leave of absence, instead.

Nearly a year after he had to undergo emergency heart surgery, Green Bay Packers president and COO John Jones has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, the Packers announced today.

"We determined that it would be mutually beneficial for John to take a leave of absence while we continue our evaluation of the situation and collectively determine next steps," said Peter M. Platten, speaking on behalf of the organization's executive committee. "John will be on leave until the Executive Committee and John conclude that process."

Jones, 55, was expected to take over as team chairman and CEO for the Bob Harlan, who was scheduled to retire on June 1, but that will be delayed. Jones underwent emergency surgery in Green Bay on June 11, 2006, after experiencing chest pains. He resumed his duties last August.

"It's been a very difficult year but also a wonderful year in many respects," said Jones in a statement. "I need to step back and recharge my batteries. I will take this leave of absence. The Executive Committee and I mutually agreed that it was in the best interests of the Green Bay Packers to take this step."

Harlan and Platten each addressed the media this afternoon. Neither offered a specific explanation why Jones was put on a leave of absence, only saying that it was due to a "management situation."

"I had heard of the issues and looked at the issues and felt it was time for me to … I felt I owed it to the organization," said Harlan. "I report to the executive committee, and it was my obligation to keep the executive committee informed about anything that I thought was going on in the organization, and this is an issue I thought we needed to look at."

Jones will be paid while on his one-year leave of absence. In the meantime, the executive committee plans to meet with the Packers Board of Directors on Wednesday to further explain the situtaion.

Harlan, 70, will continue to serve as the principal executive of the Green Bay Packers for a period of time to be determined, as Chairman of the Board, Platten also announced.

"Everyone knows what a great leader Bob has been for this organization over the past 18 years," said Platten. "We are pleased that Bob has agreed to provide leadership continuity for the organization. The Executive Committee has tremendous confidence in Bob and his capable staff."

On June 1, 2006, the Packers Board of Directors formally named Jones as President and Chief Operating Officer as Harlan formally became the team's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Harlan brought Jones from New York to Green Bay in 1999 as senior vice president of administration. Jones had spent 10 years with the NFL Management Council, the league's labor arm, and two years in the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars' front office.

Jones helped implement the salary cap system in the early 1990s and, at the time, was a part of negotiations with the NFL Players Association.

Harlan and Jones together led the crusade for the $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field, beginning in 2000. A key element in the project, which was concluded in 2003, included a referendum to Brown County voters that called for $169.1 million in public funds to support the team's $135.9 million contribution. The referendum passed and the Packers

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