The Carolina Panthers have installed Tina Becker as their new chief operating officer, just hours after it emerged owner Jerry Richardson would be selling the team following allegations of workplace misconduct.
Becker’s appointment means she becomes one of the highest-ranking executives in the National Football League (NFL), and she will now take full control of the day-to-day management of the Panthers.
Becker has held numerous roles across a host of divisions at the team. She previously oversaw business and administrative priorities, while she has also managed ticketing and sponsorship, stadium operations, entertainment and fan engagement.
“These have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organisation,” Becker said in a statement.
“Our team on the field is performing at a very high level, and I believe is bound for the Super Bowl. My immediate focus will be to ensure the corporate side of the organisation performs at the same high level, while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days.”
Becker’s comments come in the wake of Sunday night’s news that Richardson, 81, would be selling the team he bought for US$206 million in 1993.
According to Sports Illustrated, Richardson’s decision to sell follows a series of accusations made against him, including sexual harassment of multiple women and the use of a racial slur towards a team scout, all of which are now being investigated by the NFL.
Sports Illustrated also reports that Richardson and the Panthers agreed confidential settlements with complainants that included non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses.
In a statement on Friday, the Panthers announced that they would be investigating Richardson’s conduct internally, with support from law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan.