Denver Broncos name Damani Leech as next team president

Damani Leech
Nati Harnik/AP
Damani Leech speaks at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 10, 2015.

The Denver Broncos’ owners have named a new team president less than a week after taking control of the NFL franchise.

Co-owner and CEO Greg Penner announced Thursday that Damani Leech will oversee the team’s day-to-day operations.

“It’s a tremendous honor to join Broncos Country during such an exciting time for one of the premier franchises in all of sports,” Leech said. “Greg and the other partners are visionary leaders and the trust they have shown me is humbling.”  

Leech brings 25 years of experience in the NFL and NCAA. The former Princeton defensive back spent the last three years as the Chief Operating Officer for NFL International. 

Prior to that, he spent 17 years at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. He began as an intern in 1998 and was later named Managing Director of Championships in 2013.  

The Walton-Penner Group met publicly for the first time Wednesday since the NFL owners unanimously approved its purchase of the team.  Penner, who was named CEO the same day, said he would name a team president, but didn’t give a timetable.   

“As we sought to identify a dynamic, forward thinking and inspiring leader to guide the Broncos into this exciting new chapter, Damani stood out among several very qualified candidates,” Penner said. “There was a high degree of interest in this opportunity with the Broncos, which speaks to the reputation of this organization and Damani’s strong credentials.”

It was rumored that a former Broncos quarterback, either John Elway or Peyton Manning, would fill the role. Penner said he has been in contact with both about their involvement with the franchise, but would not go into specifics.

With Penner installed as CEO and Leech as team president, the team has filled both roles that were once held by Joe Ellis. Ellis, who has been with the team for 27 years, stepped down as CEO and President following the sale of the team. He has agreed to stay on in an advisory role. 

And with the hire, Leech becomes the fourth Black NFL team president in league history. Three of those came this year, with hires at the Washington Commanders, Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.

The Walton-Penner Group already made headlines for diversity when it added three Black limited partners in former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Starbucks Chair Mellody Hobson, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.