Lions’ Wood ‘probably’ won’t make personnel decisions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Rod Wood, whom the Lions will introduce as team president Friday afternoon, said Friday morning he likely will not be involved in personnel moves but will play a role in managing the team’s salary cap.

This will be Wood’s first job in the NFL after the 55-year-old had a long career in investment banking.

“I would probably not be directly involved in personnel decisions,” he said on WJR-AM (760), “but certainly as it relates to the financial impact on the team and the salary cap and helping facilitate the best use of our resources to put the best team on the field on a consistent basis, absolutely.”

Wood also confirmed that WJR will be the Lions’ new flagship station after more than a decade on WXYT-FM (97.1).

Wood joins the Lions after spending the past eight years as chief executive of Ford Estates. Based on his description, Wood’s duties will likely be similar to former president Tom Lewand, who managed the salary cap and served as a surrogate when ownership wasn’t available while former general manager Martin Mayhew handled personnel decisions.

“As most people have noted, I’m not a football guy,” Wood said. “That’s not in my background. What I am pretty good at is hiring great people and letting them do their job, and I would expect that we’ll do that by finding a great GM to lead the football side.”

Wood said the process to find that GM will “begin in earnest now.”

In addition to announcing Wood’s hiring, the Lions said Thursday they would be using the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel, which has several former GMs, to assist in the hiring process.

The team is also forming an advisory board that will include Ford, Wood and Ford’s four children — Martha Ford Morse, Sheila Ford Hamp, William Clay Ford Jr. and Elizabeth Ford Kontulis. All four of the children are on the Lions’ board of directors along with Ford.

“The business side is going to be managed and take care of itself,” Wood said. “But what’s important is to put a winning team on the field, not only for the city, the organization and our fans, but for the Ford family. And the more wins we have, the better the business does, so it’s a circular process.”