LAKE FOREST – The Bears have interviewed Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren for team president and CEO, according to a report from ESPN college football reporter Pete Thamel.
The Bears have been interviewing candidates to replace president Ted Phillips, who announced his plans to retire after the 2022 season in September. Phillips has held the organization’s top job since 1999.
Warren has been the Big Ten commissioner since 2019. He has led the conference through a turbulent time, dealing with COVID-19 disruptions and the emergence of name, image and likeness compensation in college sports. During his time as commissioner, the Big Ten has brokered a massive new TV deal and added premier schools in USC and UCLA.
Before becoming Big Ten commissioner, Warren was the chief operating officer for the Minnesota Vikings from 2015-19. Before taking over the top job in Minnesota, Warren worked for the Vikings organization since 2005. He previously worked for the Detroit Lions, the St. Louis Rams and as a sport agent.
Warren worked for the Vikings when they brokered a deal for a new indoor stadium, U.S. Bank Stadium, in Minneapolis. His experience in that arena could be enticing for a Bears organization that is working on plans for a new stadium in Arlington Heights.
The Big Ten released the following statement regarding Warren: “Over the course of three decades in professional and collegiate sports, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren regularly receives unique opportunities and requests for his expertise from leaders across a variety of industries ranging from professional sports ownership groups to private equity firms. The Commissioner utilizes each occurrence to listen, learn and assist every stakeholder in the most appropriate and effective manner. The Commissioner remains focused on the Big Ten Conference, its 14 members institutions and over 10,000 student-athletes in both regular season and postseason play.”
Warren interviewed for the Bears job in person, according to ESPN. The Bears did an initial round of interviews remotely and Warren was one of the finalists that Bears brass tabbed for a second, in-person interview.
Per ESPN, the Bears have used the help of a search firm called Nolan Partners with the search for a new team president. The Bears have interviewed multiple other candidates in person.
“We have not set a timeline for announcing Ted Phillip’s successor,” the Bears said in a brief statement. “Our search team has cast a wide net, spoke to many outstanding candidates and looks forward to introducing our next President and CEO at the process’s conclusion.”