Jason Wright will leave the Commanders at the end of the 2024 season

Jason Wright, who became the face of the Washington Commanders’ attempt to transform their workplace culture after being hired four years ago as the first Black team president in NFL history, will step down from that role immediately and leave the organization at the end of next season, Wright and Commanders owner Josh Harris said.

Wright will assume the role of senior advisor and maintain his responsibilities as de facto team president, focusing primarily on the search for a new stadium and a naming rights partner. Harris and Tad Brown, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, will lead the search for the Commanders’ next president.

“This is the right time for me to explore my next leadership opportunity,” Wright said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “I am extremely grateful to my Commanders colleagues, our fans and this community for all we have accomplished these past four years, and I look forward to the start of a very successful season for Burgundy and Gold.”

Wright, whose previous contract was set to expire next month, according to two people with knowledge of its terms, met with members of the team’s business staff Thursday afternoon to inform them of his impending departure. If he finds his next job before the season ends, the team will support an expedited exit for him, a person familiar with the Commanders’ planning said.

“Jason has had a remarkable impact on the Commanders organization since joining four years ago,” Harris said in a statement to The Post. “He came along at a time of immense challenge and has led this organization through an incredible transformation that set the stage for everything to come. I am extremely grateful to Jason for his partnership with me and the rest of the ownership group over the past year. His guidance has been invaluable and his leadership has helped reshape our culture.”

Wright’s departure is the latest major change amid a franchise-wide overhaul of operations under Harris, who purchased the team last year from Daniel Snyder for a record $6.05 billion. Since earlier this year, the Commanders have hired Adam Peters as general manager and Dan Quinn as coach, revamped their front office and coaching staff and retooled their roster.

Such sweeping changes weren’t feasible for the 2023 season after Harris and his group took over last summer; their purchase closed just before the start of training camp. Harris’ first year with the Commanders was largely spent evaluating the franchise’s operations while making incremental improvements and rebuilding relationships with alumni and community leaders.

“Getting to know people and giving them the opportunity to succeed is important, so we’re going to watch, listen, learn and catch up over the next year,” Harris told The Post shortly before NFL team owners ratified the sale last July.

The jobs of virtually all employees, including Wright, were up for review after the ownership group’s first season.

With the Commanders’ support — a sign that a change at the top of the team’s front-office hierarchy was likely imminent — Wright interviewed to be president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers. But the Packers promoted someone from within, naming Edward R. Policy, their chief operating officer and general counsel, last month to succeed Mark Murphy in July 2025, when Murphy retires.

Wright, a former NFL running back and later a partner at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, was hired by the Commanders (then called the Washington Football Team) in August 2020, becoming a key figure in the team’s attempt to transform the franchise. His hiring came a month after the team named Julie Donaldson as senior vice president of media and content. She became the first woman to work full-time in an NFL team’s radio broadcast booth on game days. (Donaldson left her executive role with the team last year.)

Wright quickly became a respected voice on the team, but his main task — improving the franchise’s workplace — was daunting.

And this became even more serious shortly after his arrival.

“I knew I was walking into a situation that you might call a ‘situation in transition,’” Wright told The Post in spring 2021. “That’s a diplomatic way of talking about it. And I knew it was going to be full of challenges. I guess what I found was that they were different challenges than I expected. Nothing was exactly how I expected it to be.”

The team hired a new coach, Ron Rivera, in early 2020, then dropped its controversial 87-year-old Redskins name after facing pressure from sponsors. The franchise commissioned an investigation (later taken over by the NFL) into its workplace after The Post detailed allegations of widespread sexual harassment and verbal abuse — just in time for the coronavirus-marred 2020 NFL season.

Nine days after Wright’s hiring was announced, The Post reported that the team had also produced lewd videos of photo shoots for the cheerleaders’ swimsuit calendar more than a decade earlier. The allegations, along with subsequent allegations of financial irregularities and sexual misconduct by Snyder (which he denied), led to multiple investigations by the NFL, Congress and the attorneys general of D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (All three have since reached settlements with the team over allegations of improperly withholding deposits from ticket holders.)

The team’s head athletic trainer was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for illegally distributing controlled substances to players and was indefinitely suspended from working with any NFL team. Meanwhile, an intense dispute between Snyder and his limited partners reached the courts.

Amid the turmoil, Wright became central to the team’s claim that the culture within the franchise had changed. In a July 2022 statement to The Post, a Snyder spokesperson cited “the successful efforts of Dan and Tanya Snyder, along with Jason Wright and Coach Ron Rivera, over the past two years to bring about a remarkable transformation in the organization.” The spokesperson said the Snyders would “continue to focus on their league-leading fight to achieve greater respect and much-needed diversity and equality in the workplace.”

In his first few months, Wright took charge of business operations by hiring a management team made up mostly of outsiders — executives with extensive resumes but little or no NFL experience. The results were mixed.

Wright and his executive team shepherded the rebranding to Commanders, a name still criticized by most D.C.-area sports fans. Some said the name, along with uniform changes and failed attempts to honor Sean Taylor, showed a lack of institutional knowledge among Wright’s team. But the personnel changes created diversity in the organization’s leadership ranks. Its original front office, which featured minorities or women in more than 50 percent of roles, has now been almost completely changed.

Wright tried to win back a season ticket holder base that had shrunk over the years. He tried to build a corporate partnership that had crumbled with virtually every revelation of a new scandal. He also oversaw another attempt to secure a new stadium site, which ultimately failed before the sale to Harris restarted talks.

The Commanders’ combined revenue from ticket and box sales rose more than 40 percent and the team led the league in new club seat sales year over year, according to a person familiar with the situation. The team also announced six new corporate partners before the start of last season, with others following, and embarked on $75 million worth of improvements to its stadium and practice facilities.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished over the past four years,” Wright said in his statement to The Post. “Together with an incredible team of professionals, we have led this franchise through a period of immense challenge and uncertainty and turned it around. We have set the stage for an incredibly bright future under Josh’s leadership. … I particularly look forward to helping the organization complete the deal for its new stadium.”

But while the Commanders began adding new commercial partners, the biggest one cut ties late last year. Shipping giant FedEx ended its stadium naming rights deal two years before it was set to expire in 2026 by exercising a buyout clause stemming from the team’s sale. The move deprived the Commanders of the roughly $15 million in remaining revenue from the deal and left them searching for a new partner for their Landover stadium while they look for a new home in D.C., Maryland or Virginia.

The Commanders are working with Elevate, a consulting firm run by San Francisco 49ers team president Al Guido, to find their next naming rights partner. It’s possible the team could secure a short-term sponsor that would keep it for the life of the Landover stadium. However, the preferred option is to find one that will sign on now and have the name carry over to the next stadium.

As the Commanders’ 2023 season concluded, attention quickly turned to revamping the team’s on-field product. Peters changed the front office, altered the Commanders’ scouting department and, with Quinn’s help, overhauled the roster to add more than two dozen veteran players and nine rookie draft picks, including prized quarterback Jayden Daniels.

According to a person familiar with the owners’ thinking, the plan is to move forward with the changes. The owners’ focus will ultimately be on the business side of the franchise, and that process is now beginning in earnest.

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