The foggy search for DeMaurice Smith‘s successor as NFLPA executive director is over. The union has a new leader. Lloyd Howell will succeed Smith, the NFLPA announced Wednesday (Twitter link).
Howell recently retired from his position as CFO with the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm. He spent 34 years with the company. Howell left his post in October last year, with that move coming just as the NFLPA began its search to succeed Smith. The appointment came after a vote from the NFLPA’s board of player representatives, though Howell’s name had not been circulated during this monthslong process.
Howell will step in as the fourth executive director of the NFLPA. Smith served in this capacity since 2009, while Hall of Fame guard Gene Upshaw held it from 1983-2008. Ed Garvey was in place in this role from 1971-83. While Upshaw starred for the Raiders, the NFLPA brought in Smith from outside the league to lead its efforts. The union will follow suit with Howell, a Penn alumnus who holds an MBA from Harvard.
A number of players have expressed support for the Howell hire since the announcement, but Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith notes players were “in the dark” during this search. Howell will be the choice to lead the way alongside NFLPA president J.C. Tretter. Smith’s term runs through 2024, though CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes (on Twitter) Howell could begin his leadership stay this year.
“It was important for us to run a process that lived up to the prestige of the position we sought to fill,” Tretter said in a statement. “The process was 100% player led and focused on leadership competency, skills and experience. Our union deserves strong leadership and a smooth transition, and we are confident Lloyd will make impactful advances on behalf of our membership.”
Richard Sherman, Calais Campbell, Alex Mack, Austin Ekeler, Ryan Kelly, Jason McCourty, Brandon McManus, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Michael Thomas and Thomas Morstead joined Tretter in comprising the search committee. Smith faced off against the NFL owners during two collective bargaining agreement negotiations, producing agreements in 2011 and 2020. The 2020 agreement runs through the 2030 season, meaning Wednesday’s appointment will not lead to near-future Howell-led negotiations.
Howell also serves on the board at Moody’s Corp. and General Electric HealthCare. While CBA talks will not be in the cards for a while, Howell will be in place to lead all other union-related matters.