Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is among the finalists to be the next president and CEO of the Chicago Bears, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. Warren took over as Big Ten commissioner in 2020 after longtime conference leader Jim Delaney retired.
Warren reportedly interviewed in person for the job, a reflection of how serious his candidacy for the position is. The hiring process is anticipated to conclude in the next week, according to Thamel.
Warren has NFL leadership experience on his resume, previously working as the chief operating officers for the Minnesota Vikings before taking the Big Ten job. He’s held various positions in NFL executive suites, working in the legal and business spheres for NFL teams.
Warren played an integral role in the Vikings constructing their new home arena, U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Bears are likely looking to hire a president and CEO who can navigate them to a new stadium in Arlington Heights, Illinois, as they look to leave Soldier Field behind.
As Big Ten commissioner, Warren faced an early onslaught with the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising tide of backlash for postponing the league football season while other power conferences had begun to play.
Despite that fraught beginning, Warren hung around and settled in to the gig leading the Big Ten during a time of shifting ground in college football — playoff expansion, NIL, and conference realignment have all changed the fabric of the sport in ways known and yet to be discovered..
On the latter of the trio, Warren took his biggest swing and made what would be his biggest mark on the Big Ten were he to take the Bears jobs, adding USC and UCLA to the league starting in 2024. It was a move that was equal parts stunning and sensible, bringing in two outsider programs to keep on par in the conference arms race with the SEC.