CHICAGO — The sale of the Cleveland Browns to Jimmy Haslam III was unanimously approved by NFL owners Tuesday, and team president Mike Holmgren will be leaving the Browns at the end of the season.
Haslam announced Joe Banner will become CEO on Oct. 25, the day the business transaction of the $1 billion sale from Randy Lerner is expected to close. Banner, who was the longtime president in Philadelphia, will be introduced Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Berea.
Haslam said Holmgren will retire after the season. He will work closely with Banner in the next few months in the transition.
Haslam praised Holmgren and said he’s asked him hundreds of questions in the last few months. But Holmgren didn’t want to accept a reduced role under the new regime.
Under Lerner, Holmgren ran the organization, and Haslam called him the “de facto owner.”
“If you know Mike, he’s a pretty strong personality,” Haslam said. “I think Mike had exactly in mind what he wanted to do, what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.”
Holmgren was originally scheduled to attend the owners meetings but didn’t.
Haslam and Lerner agreed to the sale in August just as training camp was opening. Haslam has said his mission is to bring winning football back to Cleveland; the Browns have made the playoffs once since returning to the NFL in 1999.
Holmgren was hired by Lerner in 2010. The Super Bowl-winning coach with Green Bay and former coach and general manager in Seattle has not been able to get the Browns into contention in the AFC North and Cleveland was the last team to win a game this season, improving to 1-5 with last Sunday’s victory over Cincinnati.
Haslam said he won’t decide about any additional personnel moves until after the season. He said he looked into coach Pat Shurmur’s eyes and told him “no decisions have been made” during a 1 1/2-hour meeting Saturday night.
“I would never say we need X-amount of wins,” Haslam said. “You want to see a positive direction. You want to see continued improvement and see them play hard. We’ve played hard every game. And our best football of all year came in the fourth quarter Sunday. That’s great to see.”
Banner will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the organization, but Haslam said he’ll be “heavily involved” in any big decision. Banner won’t have any ownership stake.
The Chronicle’s Scott Petrak contributed to this report.