Following another disappointing season, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has continued his management shakeup. Just days after firing general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine, the Browns have hired baseball executive Paul DePodesta as the team's new chief strategy officer.
The move is considered bold by both parties. DePodesta leaves his role as vice president of player personnel with the National League champion New York Mets for a position in the NFL, a sport in which he has limited professional experience.
Browns making a unique hire and announcement: Paul DePodesta is leaving the baseball world to join Browns as Chief Strategy Officer.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 5, 2016
DePodesta’s past successes as a baseball analytics guru make him an interesting hire but perhaps a logical one for an organization making a move in an analytical direction. After playing baseball and football at Harvard, DePodesta entered the professional sports world as an advanced scout for the Cleveland Indians in 1996. He then joined Oakland Athletics as an assistant to general manager Billy Beane in 1999 before becoming one of the youngest general managers in baseball history when the Los Angeles Dodgers hired him at 31 years old in 2004.
DePodesta, now 43, served as executive vice president of the San Diego Padres before joining the Mets in 2010.
"We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office," Haslam said. "His approach and ambition to find the best pathways for organizational success transcend one specific sport and his experience as a high-level sports executive make him a terrific addition to the Cleveland Browns."
According to sources, DePodesta’s new job places him above newly hired executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown in the organizational pecking order and means he would report only to Haslam and team president Alec Scheiner.
DePodesta may have a say in player personnel, although Haslam indicated Brown would have final say on roster moves and on draft day, sources said.
“Paul has invaluable experience in management and leadership with a number of highly successful sports teams,” said Brown. “His ability to create better processes and systems throughout organizations, his use of data as a tool to produce better outcomes, and his relentless focus on looking for innovative ways to create more success will be a strong asset as we look to be as comprehensive as possible in our decision making.”