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Sunday, May 20, 2012
Saints restructure upper management

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

The New Orleans Saints officially announced a series of re-structuring moves at the top positions in their organization Sunday afternoon.

Most significantly, Dennis Lauscha, who previously was executive vice president/chief financial officer, has been promoted to team president. Rita Benson LeBlanc, who is the granddaughter of owner Tom Benson and previously held the titles of owner and executive vice president, now becomes the vice chairman of the board. The team said LeBlanc will expand her duties to include enhanced management responsibilities with Zelia, LLC, which includes such properties as Benson Tower, Champions Square and various interests in automotive, real estate, banking and multi-media platforms, including New Orleans television Fox 8 (WVUE).

I don’t think the shakeup has anything to do with the bounty scandal. Instead, it comes after Benson agreed to purchase the New Orleans Hornets and his other businesses continue to grow.

“With the continued growth of our holdings and various interests, it makes perfect sense at this point in time to announce the growth of our upper management structure,” Benson said. “We have seen the visibility and vastness of our holdings increase and that requires more management responsibilities and I’m confident that the leadership skills of Rita, Dennis and Mickey (Loomis) will continue to flourish given their enhanced responsibilities.”

There had been previous reports that LeBlanc was on administrative leave due to conflict with her grandfather. Benson downplayed those reports, saying LeBlanc had taken a vacation and that her role is expanding, not being reduced.

Loomis will continue to serve in his role as executive vice president and general manager, although he will be suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season for his role in the bounty program. Since the arrival of coach Sean Payton in 2006, Benson has allowed Payton and Loomis pretty much full control of football operations.

Lauscha make take on some added roles, including helping oversee the Hornets, but he has been instrumental in running the Saints’ business matters for 15 years and that’s expected to contiule. Lauscha will continue in his role on the team’s board of directors and will continue to oversee financial operations of the team. He’ll take on the added duties of overseeing the team’s marketing, ticket operations, legal department and community affairs.