Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson has completed his search for the next leader of his team's business operations with the naming today of Neil Glat, the NFL's senior vice president of corporate development, as Jets team president.
"I'm very excited about bringing Neil on board," Johnson told newyorkjets.com this morning. "You can see from his résumé that he has a lot of experience in the NFL and a lot of real-world experience as well. He's very intelligent, he's analytical, he has a calm demeanor, he's efficient. I think he'll do a great job in the business end of running our football team."
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity, the new challenges ahead, and working for a great organization led by Mr. Johnson," said Glat, 44, from his league office. "I hope to build on a terrific team of executives that's already in place. There's an opportunity for them certainly to make me better and hopefully for me to make them better, and for us to collectively really focus on growing the business."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered his comments and best wishes to Glat as he moves from the league's Manhattan offices across the Hudson to the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J.
"Neil Glat is a talented executive who has contributed to a wide range of business accomplishments during his NFL career," Goodell said. "I have worked closely with Neil on many projects and he will undoubtedly continue to make his mark on the league in this important and exciting new role with the Jets."
"Dozens of Incredible Candidates"
Johnson said the process of finding the new president began immediately after Matt Higgins, executive vice president of business operations announced he was leaving the club earlier this offseason.
"It was a very rigorous and thorough process," Johnson said. "We looked at dozens of incredible candidates, both internal and external."
And the choice was Glat, who has worn a variety of hats at NFL headquarters during twin tenures in 1991-92 and from 1997 to present. Among his many endeavors, which have involved ticketing, apparel, video games and media, he has been involved in the development of more than 20 stadium projects around the league. One of those projects in which he was involved: the building of MetLife Stadium, now in its third season of operation.
"I've had a fairly extensive involvement with the Jets on numerous initiatives," Glat said. "Most specifically, I was involved in the team sale to Woody Johnson in 2000, and in the league's efforts to support the Jets and Giants in jointly building MetLife Stadium. The role we played was multifaceted, involving stadium financing and securing the necessary league approvals to get the stadium under way."
"I've known Neil for 12 years, since I've been in the league," Johnson said. "He's always impressed me. He's held different types of jobs in the league. I think he's got a very good idea of what works and what doesn't work, not only among the 32 teams in the NFL but in other sports and in other businesses."
Glat comes by that knowledge and appreciation as many other Jets fans did, by following sports and cheering for teams as he grew up in Westchester County, N.Y.
"I was a fan of all New York sports teams growing up, including the Jets. I go back pretty far. I remember the 'Mud Bowl' quite well — A.J. Duhe killed 'em that day," he said of the Jets' 1982 AFC Championship Game in the Orange Bowl mud against Miami. "I remember all the games with the Sack Exchange, with Wesley Walker, Freeman McNeil, Bruce Harper, all those teams. It was probably the late Seventies and early Eighties where I started to develop a keen interest in the NFL."
It's All About the Fans
With such a background, it's not a surprise that Glat brings to Johnson and the Jets a strong commitment to his fellow followers of the Green & White.
"There's obviously a tremendous and extremely loyal fan base, a tremendous following, so the opportunity to be associated with that is a real privilege for me," he said. "My goal is to build on the terrific business activities in place or currently under way and hopefully to bring a different perspective and approach that has a real positive impact on the Jets organization."
"Neil understands the brand and I think he's going to improve the brand," Johnson said. "The brand has to do with the fans. It really reflects the fans' feelings toward the team. And our goal is to live up to the aspirations of our fans."
Johnson extended a special thanks to Bob Parente, the Jets' senior vice president of broadcasting and production, for his help during this transition period.
"Bob did a great job in overseeing operations during this entire process," Johnson said, "and he will continue to be an important part of the Jets organization."
Glat, who is expected to come aboard the Jets in early May, was selected in 2003 and again in 2005 as a recipient of Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal "Forty Under 40" award, presented annually to individuals considered influential and creative in the business of sports.
In addition to the NFL, Glat has worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and as an investment banker at Dillon, Read & Co. He has his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.S. in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife have twin 8-year-old daughters.