LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- After four decades with the Chicago Bears, team president and chief executive officer Ted Phillips has announced he will retire from his role at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
"I have been truly blessed with the honor of working for the Chicago Bears for 40 seasons and look forward to leading the team through the 2022 season," Phillips said in a statement released by the team Friday. "I appreciate the support of the McCaskey family and to be involved in overseeing this amazing growth of the Chicago Bears through the years, is a dream come true.
"Every day has been a true pleasure and being surrounded by so many talented and wonderful people has made my job richly rewarding on many levels. I will always bleed blue and orange and forever be proud to be a part of the Chicago Bears family."
The Bears have already begun searching for Phillips' successor and will announce his replacement in the coming months.
Phillips was named president and CEO on Feb. 10, 1999. He is only the fourth person to serve as president in the organization's 102-year existence and the first outside of the Halas-McCaskey family to hold that post.
Phillips has played an instrumental role in the Bears expected move to Arlington Heights, Illinois. The team is in escrow for the former Arlington Racetrack site, for which it signed a $197.2 million purchase agreement last year. In January, Phillips said he anticipated closing on the land by early 2023. "Our focus for long-term development is exclusively on that property," he said at the time.
Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said in the statement Friday, "It's difficult to put into words how much Ted has meant to the Bears and our family. The faith that Virginia and Ed McCaskey placed in him by naming him President and CEO of the Bears has been rewarded many times over.
"He's the best boss I ever had, and when I became his boss, he handled it graciously, as he has so many other situations. He is held in high regard by his peers around the league, and deservedly so. We are lucky to have had him here as long as we did."
Phillips served as the Bears' vice president of operations for six seasons starting in 1993 and was previously the team's director of finance from 1987 to '93. Phillips joined the Bears staff in September 1983 as the team's controller, a position he held for four years.
"He started out with us as a financial expert," Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey said. "Anything that he was ever asked to take care of, he came through and did it very well. We've been very blessed to have him."