Culture

Who Is Tina Becker? Carolina Panthers Name New COO Amid Jerry Richardson Workplace Misconduct Allegations

Tina Becker is the new chief operating officer for the Carolina Panthers, the team announced on Monday. Becker has worked with the team for nearly 20 years. In her new role, she became one of the highest-ranking female executives for the NFL, the Panthers noted in their announcement.

Becker is taking over for Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who used to oversee the daily operations for the team. He stepped down amid allegations of workplace misconduct.

“These have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organization,” Becker said in a statement on Monday. “Our team on the field is performing at a very high level, and I believe is bound for the Super Bowl. My immediate focus will be to ensure the corporate side of the organization performs at the same high level, while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days.”

Becker has had various roles during her time with the Panthers, from helping with the Panthers' ticketing and sponsorship, to stadium operations and business operations positions, to entertainment and fan engagement.

Hugh McColl, former chairman and CEO of Bank of America, was hopeful about the Panthers’ future with Becker as the COO.

“Tina is the right person to lead this organization. I know she is committed to the Panthers, to the city of Charlotte and to ensuring this organization is run in a professional and progressive manner,” he said.

Richardson stepped down from his role because he wanted to focus on selling the Panthers. He made that decision two days after the Panthers announced the investigation into workplace misconduct allegations against him.

“I believe that it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership,” Richardson wrote on Sunday. “Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played. I hope everyone in this organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on just one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl.”

Richardson had been in charge of the Panthers since they joined the league in 1995 and became the 29th franchise. Since then, they played in two Super Bowls.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters he was “a little surprised and just kind of taken back a little bit” about the 81-year-old’s decision to sell the team. But overall he thought it was a good idea, and he was positive about Becker assuming the COO position.

“I think it's a very good thing,” Rivera told NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon. “She's been involved in operations since the beginning. She's a solid person, has worked her way up and knows the inner workings of the organization.”

jerry richardson Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, pictured December 14, 2014, in Charlotte, North Carolina, is going to sell the NFL team. Getty Images

That organization will soon no longer include Richardson. He put the Panthers up for sale two days after he was accused of asking female employees for massages, asking to shave a female employee’s legs and directing a racist insult at a black Panthers scout—among other things, Sports Illustrated wrote.

“It was a power culture. You did what Mister said, when he said it,” a former employee told Sports Illustrated on Sunday. “He thinks he’s really great. You’re supposed to reinforce that.... Even when he does things that make you feel like half a person, that you know are wrong.”

The NFL is now leading the investigation against Richardson.

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