Kim Pegula is taking on an organizational position no woman has ever held in the NFL. Pegula is making history as the first female president of an NFL team after taking over the position for the Buffalo Bills. While women, including Pegula, have been owners of franchises and worked in various high-level positions in organizations, a woman has never held the title of president before, though that could just be semantics.
Pegula is already well-known in league circles, working as a member of the Super Bowl Committee and the National Football League Foundation board, “a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those involved in the game of football.” She’s also led the way on women’s issues in the league, appearing on NFL Network and in press releases about the subject. She has been integral in changing the game day experience, marketing the Bills and Sabres, and revitalizing downtown Buffalo in her time in the spotlight.
As we mentioned semantics before, other women has been in charge of the day-to-day operations of teams before but held other titles. Amy Trask was the CEO of the Oakland Raiders from 1997 until 2013 while owner Al Davis held the position of owner and general manager. Trask was sent to owners’ meetings in Davis’ stead and held as much power as an female non-owner ever has as the chief executive for the team.
Also of note, Tina Becker is the COO of the Carolina Panthers and has been running the day-to-day operations since owner Jerry Richardson announced he was selling the team amid accusations of his own workplace misconduct. The new owner will obviously have a lot of say on her role going forward.
Currently, Martha Firestone Ford is the owner and chairwoman of the Detroit Lions, taking on sole ownership in 2014 when he husband, William, passed away.
This isn’t the first time the Bills have broke boundaries for women, as the team hired the league’s first full-time female coach in 2016 when they named Kathryn Smith special teams quality control coach.
Linda Bogdan, team founder Ralph Wilson’s daughter, was pro football’s first female scout decades ago and served as corporate vice president of the Bills until her death. Wilson’s niece, Mary Owen, was the team’s Vice President of Strategic Planning until the team was sold to the Pegulas following Wilson’s death.
Pegula will also be president of the Buffalo Sabres and Pegula Sports & Entertainment following the resignation of Russ Brandon. She is the only female president in the NHL, as well.