ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As new Broncos Owner and CEO Greg Penner begins his tenure with the Broncos, he'll aim to lead the organization by four key tenets.
"We believe that a winning team and organization require the right people, high expectations, the necessary resources and accountability," Penner said Wednesday during an introductory press conference for the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group. "We're committed to that, and we're going to draw on this diverse ownership group to succeed."
Penner, who was introduced as the team's new CEO and will take on a leadership role among the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group, noted that he'll draw on the wisdom of Rob Walton, Carrie Walton Penner, Mellody Hobson, Condoleezza Rice and Lewis Hamilton to help the Broncos move forward.
"Everybody's going to be involved," Penner said. "Obviously with six of us, somebody has to be on point, so I'll take that role. So you'll be seeing probably most from me here, but as you heard, this is just an incredible group and we're going to draw on all of them as we go through this. Rob and Carrie, … they'll be here obviously a lot with me, as well on dealing with any big issues or questions or strategic decisions that we're making. Then, most of all, we're just really looking forward to all having fun together with this. Obviously this is a business, but this is a sports franchise and we want to win, and that's our goal. And part of that is having a lot of fun as a family and with this group while we do that."
Penner said he shared his vision and expectations with the Broncos' roster during a team meeting on Wednesday morning, and he noted that the Broncos have the pieces in place to find success on the field. During the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group's introductory press conference, Penner referred to George Paton as one of the "sharpest GMs in the business" and Nathaniel Hackett as "a dynamic, up-and-coming head coach." Penner also called Russell Wilson a "dynamic individual" and emphasized the importance of having an elite quarterback.
"The vision — the big vision — is we want to win football championships," Penner said. "We want to do it in the right way. And so the first place that you've got to start is with the people. And again on the football side, we couldn't be more excited about what we have with George, Nathaniel [and] Russell in place. Those are the first pieces. But then it's a process, that I mentioned, which is now you have the people [and] now you've got to have really high expectations of ourselves. We've got to make sure we have the resources, and that comes in a number of different ways, to support them. And then we have to hold ourselves accountable. That's where it gets — sometimes it gets a little tricky because, you know, you lose one game, that doesn't mean you're going to all of a sudden make a bunch of short-term, rash decisions. So there's an appropriate amount of patience, but we will hold ourselves accountable."
While the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group's vision will extend to the on-field product, Penner said the group will let the key football employees make the football-related decisions.
"We're big believers — every owner, I think, has to stake out their own territory here — we're big believers in empowering people," Penner said. "We love football. As 'Condi' [Rice] said, her dad was a coach. She knows football. But we're not going to be calling plays, we're not going to be drafting players. We're going to empower this team led by George Paton and Nathaniel Hackett to make those key decisions. Obviously part of the fun is learning and understanding and all that, but they're going to make the football decisions."
As the new CEO, though, Penner will help set the tone for the next chapter of Broncos football.
"Winning the right way starts with values," Penner said. "And so it goes for everything from how our culture is — we want this, as Carrie said, we want this to be a great place to work. We want our players to come here and feel like they're supported, that this is a great place to play and grow as individuals. Those types of characteristics are really important to us. And so that's where we start from."