Jones, Packers officially part ways

Ousted executive John Jones says health reasons were the main issue for his dismissal as he and the Packers settled a contract buyout Friday, and the team announced a search committee for the new team president

The Green Bay Packers officially accepted the resignation of John Jones on Friday, and officially announced a search committee to pursue a new chief executive officer.

Jones was placed on a leave of absence in late May due to "management issues." He reportedly agreed to a three-year contract buyout at $900,000 a year, the amount he was to be paid annually. Though it is believed that health issues were not the reason Jones was dismissed from the Packers, he said as much in a press release.

"What happened to me a year ago was sudden and devastating," said Jones, who began as Bob Harlan's heir apparent in 1999. "Due to a previously undetected, rare birth defect of the heart, I experienced an aortic dissection. I underwent a series of complex emergency heart surgeries in June 2006. I am grateful that I survived.

"However, like many heart surgery patients, I have found that the residual effects of the surgeries have made it difficult to continue my current job.

"The Packers mean so very much to me, but my family means more. I need to put my health and continued recovery above everything else.

"I am proud of my service to the team and to the community and have done everything I could to prepare the Green Bay Packers for the future. The Packers have been fair to me during this process, and I appreciate it."

The Packers hired the Chicago-based executive head-hunting firm of Spencer Stuart to find Harlan's successor. Harlan remains as the team's interim president and is part of the seven-man executive committee that will assist in the search.

The Packers said that the search committee will consist of six members of the team's Executive Committee – Peter Platten, John Bergstrom, John Fabry, Carl Kuehne, Ed Martin and Larry Weyers – as well as five other members of the Board of Directors: Dan Ariens, Jim Christensen, Bob Gallagher, Jack Meng and Stephanie Streeter. Harlan, whose title is team chairman, and John Underwood, a former member of the Executive Committee and team treasurer, will serve as consultants to the search committee. Both Harlan and Underwood have long represented the Packers at the NFL level and will offer their considerable expertise and contacts to the process.

The search process was discussed at a Wednesday meeting of the team's Board of Directors.

Said Platten, "It has become clear through our discussions with John that his recent leave of absence was unfortunately caused by his medical situation. Both John and the Packers wanted to take the necessary time to evaluate the appropriate course, and we appreciate the professionalism with which he has handled this matter. At no time have we questioned his integrity or character.

"Among his many accomplishments in the eight years he was with the team, John was an integral part of the successful Lambeau Field redevelopment which has resulted in the team's strong financial condition, and he led efforts to reorganize and update the team's administrative staff.

"We thank John for all his contributions to the Green Bay Packers, and we wish him and his family well. We want to emphasize that John's departure from the Packers is a result of his medical situation. The team accepts his resignation with regret, understanding that family and health must come first. The Packers will always value John for his character, his integrity and his many accomplishments during his eight years of management leadership with the team."

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