Shakeup on business side continues for Chicago Bears

As the Chicago Bears shift their stadium efforts from the suburbs to the city’s lakefront and prepare to welcome what they hope is a new franchise quarterback, the team also continues to make changes on the business side of its operations.

Team officials on Tuesday announced the hiring of onetime U.S. Senate candidate and Chicago attorney Andrea Zopp as a senior advisor, and Krista Whitaker, a former executive for the NBA’s Miami Heat, as the team’s chief legal officer.

“We are thrilled to welcome both Krista and Andy to the Chicago Bears family,” Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren said in the announcement. “Their combined expertise and dedication to excellence will be vital as we navigate complex legal issues, develop innovative programs and drive strategic initiatives, including the development of a new Chicago Bears stadium.”

Team officials said Zopp will “leverage her expertise in corporate governance, regulatory compliance, policy and business development” to help reach the organization's strategic goals.

A managing partner at venture capital firm Cleveland Avenue, Zopp has served as president and CEO at World Business Chicago and the Chicago Urban League, and has held executive positions companies including Sara Lee, Exelon and Sears Holdings.

She ran in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in 2016, losing to Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.

Whitaker will manage the NFL franchise’s department across all transactional, corporate, litigation, commercial, security and regulatory matters, the team said. She most recently served as vice president, associate general counsel for the Heat and before that was a corporate attorney at New York-based Proskauer Rose, specializing in sports and media law.

Krista Whitaker has been named executive vice president of legal and business affairs and chief legal officer for the Chicago Bears. Courtesy of the Chicago Bears

The team followed up those hires Wednesday with the appointment of Liz Geist to the newly created position of executive vice president of people and culture & chief human resources officer. Geist, who’s been with the club since 2014, will lead the Bears' human resources strategy, focusing on creating a supportive and empowering workplace culture where employees can thrive, officials said.

Liz Geist has been appointed the Chicago Bears' executive vice president of people and culture & chief human resources officer. Courtesy of the Chicago Bears

The moves are the latest in an ongoing shakeup on the business side of Halas Hall since Warren became president and CEO in April 2023. They’ve included the appointment of Tanya Dreesen, who worked with Warren in the Minnesota Vikings’ front office on the U.S. Bank Stadium project, as senior vice president of strategy and global affairs and chief of staff; the promotion of Karen Murphy to executive vice president of stadium development and chief operating officer; and the dismissal of longtime general counsel Cliff Stein.

Despite spending nearly $200 million last year to purchase the former Arlington Park property in Arlington Heights as the site of a new domed stadium, team officials have said in recent weeks they’re now focused on the parking lots south of Soldier Field as their new home.

The team holds the first overall pick in this month’s NFL Draft, and is expected to use it to select USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

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