Mark Murphy, possessor of extensive experience in professional football and sports administration, is in his 11th year as the Packers’ President and CEO.
Mark Murphy, possessor of extensive experience in professional football and sports administration, is in his 11th year as the Packers’ President and CEO.
Under Murphy’s guidance, the organization continues to rank as one of the NFL’s premier franchises, with highly successful operations both on and off the field. On the field, the team has compiled a 109-66-1 overall record (.622), made a team-record eight consecutive playoff trips from 2009 to 2016 and earned a victory in Super Bowl XLV. Off the field, the club continues to perform well in its business efforts, which allows the organization to support football operations. The fan experience at Lambeau Field, a top priority for the organization, continues to be ranked among the best in sports.
It was a direction both Murphy and the organization envisioned when Murphy was elected by the Packers’ Board of Directors as the franchise’s 10th Chief Executive Officer on Dec. 3, 2007. He began his work with the organization as president-elect on Jan. 1, 2008, and then formally took over on Jan. 28, 2008.
“I am honored to have been selected and very appreciative of this tremendous opportunity,” Murphy said the day of his election. “The Packers are one of the great franchises in all of professional sports, with a rich history and incredible fan support. These are successful times for the Packers. On the field they’re performing well, and off the field, they’re in great shape, too. I look forward to being a part of that continued success.”
Murphy, who holds a law degree and an MBA in finance, brought a unique and highly qualified background to his role as head of one of the NFL’s flagship franchises, first drawing from a deep understanding and appreciation of the game that comes from an eight-year playing career with the Washington Redskins. Later, he served a combined 16 years as director of athletics at Colgate University and Northwestern University, and was an assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association and a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition to his playing career and work with the NFL Players Association, Murphy had maintained his ties to the NFL through his work on the Commissioner’s Player Advisory Committee (1994-2002) as well as the NFL Youth Football Committee (2002-2011). Additionally, his NFL experience includes Super Bowl wins as a player (XVII, 1982) and as a CEO (XLV, 2010), believed to be the first such achievement in league history.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, recognizing the unique experience and skills Murphy brought to the NFL as the Packers’ CEO, in 2008 appointed him to the NFL’s Management Council Executive Committee, the NFL owners’ committee whose responsibility was to serve as the bargaining team during negotiations with the NFL Players Association which resulted in a new, 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011. The position has allowed Murphy to increase his involvement and contributions at the league level, ensuring the organization has a voice in NFL matters.
“Mark’s rare blend of experiences makes him integral to the future of the Packers and the NFL,” said Goodell when appointing Murphy. “His accomplishments as an NFL player, his work with the NFLPA, and now his leadership of the Packers, provide a unique perspective to the league and also to the players. He’s very effective in discussions with NFLPA executives. Mark is a bright and thoughtful individual who understands what needs to get done to create a system that benefits all sides for years to come. He is very reasonable and wants what’s best for fans, the game and players, as we all do.”
In 2012, Goodell added to Murphy’s NFL-level involvement by naming him to the important Competition Committee, the group composed of team executives and coaches that studies all aspects of the game and recommends rules and policy changes to NFL clubs. Goodell also placed Murphy on the NFL owners’ Health and Safety Committee and the College Relations Committee.
Upon joining the Packers, Murphy broadened his knowledge of the franchise, its operations and its standing in the community by meeting with employees, shareholders, fans and members of the Board of Directors, as well as many community groups.
Among his first initiatives was to update the organization’s strategic plan, a process involving all the leadership positions of the organization, including the Executive Committee and football operations. The process created core objectives to serve as a backdrop for all key business decisions. In a move to enhance those objectives, Murphy restructured the management of the organization, which included creating a new senior-leadership staff overseeing administration and finance, football operations, human resources, legal, marketing and fan engagement, and sales and corporate partnerships. The structure reflects the growth the organization has experienced in recent years and gives broader coverage across all operations with more people involved on a senior-management level.
Murphy also is directing the organization’s master plan involving Lambeau Field, the Lambeau Field Atrium, the practice facilities and property the organization owns adjacent to the stadium. Lambeau Field and the Atrium recently underwent a $312 million, five-year expansion and renovation that included a new distributed-audio sound system (2011), two new HD video boards and the new Bellin Health Gate on the north end of the stadium (2012), 7,000 additional seats in the south end zone served by the Shopko Gate (2013), a larger Oneida Nation Gate and new football facilities (2013), the American Family Insurance Gate, a redeveloped Harlan Plaza and new Packers Pro Shop (2014), and a new Packers Hall of Fame and restaurant, 1919 Kitchen & Tap (2015). Additionally, a two-year, $55 million project to renovate Lambeau Field’s suites and club seats was completed in 2017.
To support the Lambeau Field project, Murphy directed the Packers’ fifth stock sale, an effort that netted the organization more than $64 million. More than 268,000 shares were sold during the offering, from Dec. 6, 2011, through Feb. 29, 2012, with more than 250,000 new shareholders joining the Packers’ ownership. All stadium improvements were financed without public tax money.
In 2015, the Packers announced plans for Titletown, a nearly 45-acre mixed-used real estate development west of Lambeau Field, with the first phase including an engaging public plaza. The development is building upon the success of the renovated Lambeau Field and complements the vibrant business and hospitality clusters in the area that have experienced enhancement in recent years. Titletown should become a destination for visitors and residents alike. In 2017, Lodge Kohler, a four-diamond hotel; Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics; and Hinterland Restaurant and Brewery opened during the summer. Portions of the park and plaza, including tubing lanes on Ariens Hill and an ice-skating rink and trail, opened in the fall. Planning is underway for additional phases, including a residential component.
Among the other initiatives Murphy has directed is the enhancement of the organization’s retail operations, including the purchase of a new warehouse for the Packers Pro Shop and the establishment of a customer relationship management (CRM) program, with both efforts upgrading customer service to Packers fans.
Murphy also has worked to increase the number of outside events utilizing Lambeau Field, including Kenny Chesney concerts in 2011 and 2015, a Billy Joel concert in 2017, and LZ Lambeau in May 2010, a welcome back for Wisconsin Vietnam veterans. In September 2016, the Lambeau Field College Classic, presented by Carmex, saw the LSU Tigers play the Wisconsin Badgers, the stadium’s first college football game since 1981. Wisconsin will make a return to Lambeau Field in October 2020 and face Notre Dame. Additionally in the community, Murphy has ensured the organization remains a strong community partner, with a charity impact of over $8 million in the past year.
Inside the organization, Murphy continues to grow and develop the team’s human resources, with new programs for employees such as leadership development.
The 63-year-old Murphy joined the Packers after 4½ years (2003-07) as director of athletics at Northwestern University. At the Big Ten Conference school, Murphy oversaw a 19-sport program with a $40 million budget and 160 full-time employees. During his tenure, the school won eight individual national championships and three NCAA team titles. Additionally, the university won nine conference team championships and 34 individual Big Ten titles. A total of 49 Wildcats earned first-team All-America distinction. On the football field, the Wildcats participated in two bowl games during Murphy’s tenure after playing in just four previous such contests in the program’s history. In 2006-07, Northwestern finished 30th in the U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup standings with a school-best 626.5 points. The Wildcats ranked among the top 30 in the standings for the last three years of Murphy’s tenure and in 2007 finished sixth among Big Ten schools for the third straight year after previously not placing higher than ninth.
The school’s athletic success under Murphy was achieved while its student-athletes continued to excel off the field. The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data released in October 2007 reported Northwestern’s rate at 98 percent, tying it with Notre Dame and Navy for No. 1 in the nation.
Prior to his tenure at Northwestern, Murphy served as director of athletics at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. (1992-2003), the school from which he graduated in 1977. During his 11 years at the helm, the university experienced a renaissance of its football program, going from 0-11 in 1995 to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. In 2003, the year after Murphy’s departure to Northwestern, the team made it to the championship game; the achievement of that squad – a non-scholarship program – remains one of Murphy’s proudest moments.
Colgate’s other teams experienced success as well, with men’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, women’s softball and men’s ice hockey teams making NCAA tournament appearances. The school also achieved graduation rates among the highest for student-athletes in Division I during Murphy’s tenure. A proud alum, Murphy had the honor of delivering the address for the university’s 2012 graduation ceremony.
A former All-Pro safety for the Washington Redskins, Murphy enjoyed an eight-year career (1977-84) after originally signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 1977. He was a co-captain from 1980-84, a period that included two Super Bowl teams (1982-83). He enjoyed his finest season in 1983, leading the NFL with nine interceptions and earning consensus All-Pro honors as well as a trip to the Pro Bowl. Murphy was named as one of the Redskins’ “70 Greatest Players,” as well as one of the “80 Greatest Redskins,” and also is a member of the club’s 50th Anniversary Team.
Joe Gibbs, the Hall of Fame former coach of the Redskins who led the team during Murphy’s 1981-84 seasons, was appreciative of the player’s contributions and lauded the Packers’ hiring of Murphy.
“Mark meant a lot to the Redskins organization the years he was here and played,” Gibbs said. “He was a great person along with being one of the brightest and most competitive people we’ve had here at the Redskins.”
Gibbs had an influence on Murphy as well, as the Packers’ CEO attributes much of his leadership style to what he learned from the successful Redskins coach.
“He had many leadership traits that I admired and tried to incorporate into my own leadership style,” said Murphy. “He had a very natural way about him with the way he related to people, and he tried to be accessible. He was a very effective communicator, too, as most great leaders are. And when he worked with you, he was very fair and sincere. All those skills and traits fueled his awesome ability to motivate his teams.”
A natural leader among his teammates, Murphy served as the Redskins’ player representative to the NFL Players Association from 1980-84, including the position of vice president of the players union (1983-84). While a representative, he served on the players’ bargaining committee during the 1982 players’ strike. Those experiences have served him well in his role on the NFL’s Management Council Executive Committee.
During his days with the Redskins, Murphy earned an MBA in finance from American University in Washington, D.C., attending classes full-time in the offseason and evening classes in-season. Upon completion of his playing career in 1985, he joined the NFL Players Association as assistant executive director. While with the NFLPA, Murphy served on the bargaining team, including during the 1987 players’ strike, developed the agent-certification system and strengthened the PA’s degree-completion and career-counseling programs.
While with the NFLPA, he started work on a law degree from Georgetown University and ultimately finished his studies full time after leaving the Players Association. Upon receiving his law degree in 1988, he worked at a Washington, D.C., law firm (Bredhoff and Kaiser) before becoming a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in 1989.
During a four-year career with the Department of Justice, he primarily represented government agencies in trials. Then, in 1992, his alma mater called and he returned to the sports realm.
At ease in public settings and with the media, Murphy enjoyed hosting a weekly radio show during his playing days and later became a sports commentator for National Public Radio (1983-92) and the Anheuser-Busch Radio Network (1986-88), offering his insights into football and sports-related legal issues in general.
Born July 13, 1955, in Fulton, N.Y., Murphy spent some of his formative years in the Houston area before moving back to the Buffalo-area community of Clarence. He was a three-sport star (football, baseball and basketball) at Clarence Central High School and was named the best all-around athlete in Western New York during his senior year. His baseball talents drew attention from major-league scouts. In 2002, he was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements both on and off the field. In February 2016, Murphy returned to Clarence Central High School to present a golden football as part of the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl celebration.
Murphy and his wife, Laurie, who also is a Colgate graduate, have been involved in the communities in which they’ve lived. Over the years, the couple has donated their time to numerous organizations, including local schools, the United Methodist Church in Hamilton, N.Y. and the First Congregational Church of Evanston, Ill. Also, while in Chicago, Murphy served on the bid committee for the 2016 Olympics, which eventually were awarded to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While at Colgate University, Murphy formed the Hamilton Youth Basketball League and served as its commissioner. Heavily involved in the community while with the Redskins, Murphy was named the team’s “Miller Man of the Year” in 1984 in honor of his work off the field.
In Green Bay, Murphy continues a busy schedule of meeting with fans and shareholders, as well as speaking to a variety of business and community groups. He also has given his time to several community organizations to help their causes, including Big Brothers Big Sisters. Murphy also serves on University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s council of trustees and co-chaired the school’s most recent capital campaign. Additionally, Murphy serves on the advisory board of the Positive Coaching Alliance, an organization created to transform the culture of youth sports to give all young athletes the opportunity for a positive, character-building experience, as well as on USA Football’s board of directors.
Mark and Laurie are active supporters of foster-care services in Brown County and have had the pleasure of serving as foster parents in the community. Laurie recently helped establish the JAS (Journey to Adult Success) House in downtown Green Bay for teenagers who age out of foster care. She is also involved in a number of national and local organizations whose missions support hunger relief, as well as housing and education for underserved populations. In addition, Laurie established “Ladies of Lambeau,” an inclusive group of women who are associated with the Green Bay Packers. The group hosts an annual hands-on event at Lambeau Field which benefits a variety of nonprofit organizations.
Mark and Laurie have four children: Katie, 35, a graduate of Harvard who played basketball for the Crimson and lives in Chicago with her husband, Eugene Kornel, and son, Richard, and works at Credit Suisse; Emily, 33, a 2008 graduate of Middlebury (Vt.) College with a degree in Chinese and a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan who lives with her husband, Robert Kraynak, and daughter, Louise, in Chicago; Brian, 29, a graduate of Amherst (Mass.) College who played football for the Lord Jeffs and now lives in Austin, Texas, where he earned an MBA at the University of Texas and now owns and operates Ranch Hand, a food truck specializing in organic bowls; and Anna, 27, a graduate of Northwestern University who now works for Korn Ferry in Chicago.
Away from work, Mark enjoys playing golf, fishing and participating in various forms of exercise, including bicycling, cross-country skiing and jogging.