The Edmonton Eskimos have named Chris Presson as the club’s new president and CEO, the team announced on Wednesday.
“To have an opportunity to be a part of a brand like the Eskimos or a league like the Canadian Football League — it’s an honour, it’s a privilege, it’s a pleasure and I truly do not take it lightly,” he said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “I know what I’m getting into, I know what I’m in store for and I can’t wait to get started and be a part of it.”
Touting more than 30 years of sports management experience, Presson has spent the last five years as president of the Arizona Rattlers in the Indoor Football League while also serving as president of the NBA Phoenix Suns’ development team, the Northern Arizona Suns.
He’s been involved in management of hockey and baseball teams as well, the Eskimos said.
“Chris’ background and experience stood out among the very talented candidates and it became clear to us that he was the right person to lead the Eskimos. We could not be happier to have him join our organization,” says Eskimos Board Chair Janice Agrios.
Presson was also part of the Indoor Football League’s executive committee and the Phoenix Suns committee and is a past chair of the Indoor Football League Expansion Committee.
“I’m honoured to lead such a great organization in such a great city, within such a tradition rich-league,” Presson said.
“An opportunity like this does not come along very often and I recognize that. My family and I are looking forward to contributing to the community and embracing The Eskimo way.”
The hunt for a new president began in February when Len Rhodes announced he was stepping down.
Just over a week later, it was revealed that Rhodes was running for the United Conservative Party in the Edmonton-Meadows riding. Rhodes did not win a seat in the April election.
Agrios said a search committee was formed shortly after Rhodes stepped down and the club received a number of applicants during its “lengthy and exhaustive” search.
Presson said his team will introduce changes periodically and will work with the fans to see what kind of changes they want and what they want to see at Eskimos games.
“You’re not going to see drastic changes overnight,” Presson said. “You’re going to see us get in and if we don’t know exactly who our fan is or who our customer is, we’re going to figure it out so we know what they want.”
Presson will start as Eskimos president and CEO on Sept. 1.