Have seen numerous Cleveland-area writers pressing the "Haslam must have seen how bad things are and that's why he suddenly stepped down as CEO of Pilot Flying J" narrative in the last week and I've waited patiently for someone to say what a silly conclusion this is. No one has, so here's my knock-down: Of course it was his intention to eventually step-down from his CEO slot and serve in a bigger role as owner: he learned the NFL under the Rooneys, it's fair to assume that he had a similar management style in mind. The fact that he didn't announce that at the time of the intended purchase simply reflects a reality that he has real responsibilities to the shareholders and employees at Pilot Flying J. If he had announced he was stepping down before there was any succession plan in place, it would have dealt a huge blow to their stock. Not only is there no evidence that he's stepping down from Pilot Flying J only because he's found that the Browns are in far more disarray than he initially thought, there's been no discussion that this move was handled exactly as you'd suspect it had to go down: a CEO makes sure his successor is lined-up (the former CEO of Pepsi) and then once that person is in place assume status as Chairman of the Board. Obviously the CEO of Pepsi didn't make the decision to leave on a week's notice, so this has clearly been in the works for some time. Sometimes reality inconveniently gets into the way of a good story-line, but you just can't read too much into Haslam leaving the CEO slot. Hard to imagine it would have gone-down any differently.
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