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Browns owner back as CEO with family business

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By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has gone back to running the family business.

Haslam is returning to his role as CEO of Pilot Flying J, his Tennessee-based truck-stop empire, a move the Browns say will not affect his involvement with the rebuilding NFL franchise.

Haslam, who bought the Browns for $1 billion from Randy Lerner in August, had stepped down from Pilot Flying J in September when he hired former PepsiCo president John Compton. Haslam wanted to devote his energy into fixing the Browns, who have made just one playoff appearance since 1999 and have undergone numerous coaching and front-office changes.

However, on Monday, Pilot Flying J announced that Haslam will "reassume" his role as the company's CEO and Compton will take a new position as strategic adviser to Pilot Flying J, the Browns and Haslam family.

Haslam's decision is partly based on him hiring former Eagles president Joe Banner as the Browns' new CEO. Last month, Haslam and Banner hired Mike Lombardi as vice president of player personnel.

Team spokesman Neal Gulkis said Haslam's decision to go back to Pilot Flying J will have "no impact on the operations of the Browns nor will it affect Jimmy's involvement with the team."

Haslam noted in a release Compton's skills in marketing, operating excellence and strategic thinking.

Gulkis said the team will tap into Compton's expertise.

"If there is ever an opportunity to pick his brain on something we will," Gulkis said. "But his role will be strictly as an advisor."

Haslam told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he missed being CEO of Pilot Flying J.

"This is about me realizing my first love is running Pilot Flying J and wanting to return to that job," Haslam told the paper. "It's not at all about John. It's more about Jimmy having a change of heart in terms of what he wanted to do. I realize people will look at it in different ways, but that's the reality."

 

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