Like a well-executed hand-off, leadership in the upper ranks of the Green Bay Packers management continued to shift Wednesday.
As expected, the Packers' Board of Directors approved the next step in a succession plan, in which John Jones added the title of president to his current role of chief operating officer. Bob Harlan is now the team's chairman and remains the chief executive officer.
If all follows the plan of succession, a year from now when Harlan is 70 years old he will be elected chairman emeritus and Jones will be elected president and chief executive officer.
A local dream came true on Wednesday when the board of directors elected Edward Martin of Allouez to serve on the Executive Committee.
Packers connections run deep for Martin, 50, the third-generation owner of H.J. Martin & Son Inc., which specializes in building services to individuals and businesses. The Green Bay-based business has more than 1,000 employees in 24 states.
His father, Patrick Martin, was a close friend of Vince Lombardi, Paul Hornung and Max McGee. During the 1961 season Hornung was in the military, but was allowed to fly back on weekends for football games.
Patrick Martin would personally fly Hornung to and from Green Bay. On those occasions it wasn't unusual for Lombardi to visit the Martin home and entrust the Packers' playbook to young Edward to give to his father to pass on to Hornung.
"To be on the executive board represents a big challenge, a tremendous responsibility and a fantastic honor," Martin said.
On the Executive Committee he succeeds Don Schneider, who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Martin said he believes that his business acumen and common sense will serve him with the Executive Committee.
"We're (Packers) competing against the most successful business people in the country," he said.
The board of directors approved the nomination of four candidates, including Jones, to replace directors who have reached the mandatory retirement age and will take on emeritus status. The candidates who will be voted upon at the July 19 meeting are Jones, Beverly French, Thomas Olson and Bryce Paup.
Paup will become the only active member of the Board of Directors who also played for the Packers (1990 to 1994). He is a general contractor for Vision Builders of De Pere.
The four who have reached emeritus status are Schneider, Patricia LaViolette, Leo Scherer and Edward Thompson.
During the next year, Jones will become more involved in football operations, a role that Harlan currently oversees.
The pair will jointly represent the Packers at the owners' meeting. However, for the next year Harlan will represent the Packers as the NFL searches for someone to replace league Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
"This is a humbling moment," Jones said following Wednesday's vote. "I take very seriously the opportunity to represent this organization."
The board of directors approved the nomination of four candidates, including Jones, to replace directors who have reached the mandatory retirement age and will take on emeritus status.