Washington has hired Jason Wright as team president, making him the first Black team president in NFL history and only the fourth former player to ascend to that role.
“This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me,” Wright said in a statement. “The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organization — from football to operations to branding to culture — and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL.”
The team had been without a president since Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season. The team hired coach Ron Rivera and gave him full power, as owner Dan Snyder said he wanted a coach-centric approach.
Wright’s hiring won’t change that, as he won’t be involved in the football side like Allen was during his 10-year reign. Wright will focus on the business side only, including operations, finance sales and marketing. Like Rivera, he will report directly to Snyder.
“If I could custom design a leader for this important time in our history, it would be Jason,” Snyder said in a statement. “His experience as a former player, coupled with his business acumen, gives him a perspective that is unrivaled in the league. We will not rest until we are a championship caliber team, on and off the field.”
Recently, one former longtime Washington employee said the team needed to add more diverse voices but also needed to expand its net to search for talent. Too often, this person said, the organization relied on a small circle to choose high-level employees.
Wright’s hiring shows a wider net was cast. He had been a partner in the operations practice of McKinsey & Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. Among other aspects, Wright focused on getting executive-level managers to help in environmental matters. He also co-piloted McKinsey’s antiracism and inclusion strategy and helped create the Black Economic Forum.
In Washington, Wright will lead a franchise that has undergone severe changes in the past several months. The organization decided to retire its former name and, for now, will be called the Washington Football Team. There was also a damaging report in The Washington Post last month detailing sexual harassment cases involving five former employees.
In multiple stories, ESPN has detailed issues surrounding what many called a toxic atmosphere in the building. Among the solutions many employees, current and former, wanted were a strong leader in the president’s role and more diverse voices. Washington also hired Julie Donaldson to head its communications division, making her the team’s highest-ranking female executive.
Wright played seven years in the NFL as a running back with four teams, retiring after the 2010 season to attend business school. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern, where he remains the sixth all-time leading rusher in school history.