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Kim Pegula stepped in as president for stability reasons

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Pegula says she felt like the teams needed a face they were familiar with instead of a new one.

NFL: Buffalo Bills-Sean McDermott Press Conference Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

After Russ Brandon resigned from his post as president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment on May 1, Terry and Kim Pegula considered hiring someone to replace Brandon, but ultimately decided that Kim would take over the job, and not on an interim basis but permanently.

The Pegulas believe that both the front offices of the two biggest teams under the PSE umbrella, the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills, had gone through their fair share of front-office personal changes since the two teams were acquired in 2011 and 2014, respectively, and subsequently didn’t want to bring in yet another new face.

“[Terry] was like, ‘Well, who are you going to get for the job?’” Kim Pegula told The Buffalo News at the NFL spring meetings. “I said, ‘Honestly, I don’t think we need anyone.’ We’ve had a lot of turmoil. Between both hockey and football, with new GMs, new coaches, even presidents. We’ve changed a lot in the years [since] we bought the hockey team, including the football team. And both our GMs and coaches, they only have one year under their belt. So we felt like bringing in another person, another management team, another business philosophy, another personality ... I just felt like we needed stability. Our staff did, our coaches, our GMs, they needed not to have to learn a new face, a new person. That was one of the things I thought.”

It’s not like Pegula has been absent. She’s been involved in the business dealings with all the facets of the organization since the beginning, so she had a base of knowledge to start with.

“Two, I’ve been involved all along, from the time we bought the Sabres,” continued Pegula. ”Now, as we expanded, my time with each of them has gotten less and less. But you can ask anybody there that, on both teams, I’ve always been involved in the background. I’m at all the [NFL] owners’ meetings, I’m at pretty much half the NHL meetings, but I’ve always prided myself in knowing what’s going on and the people we have working for us. So it wasn’t a big hardship for me to jump from owner.”

Pegula also wanted there to be one vision, something she wasn’t sure would happen if they hired someone new.

“Actually, I think it was a jump down — from owner to president,” she continued. “But we said, ‘Who else is going to be (better) able to guide the organizations with leadership, vision, what we want to do in the future than ownership itself?’ So just completely cutting off a layer of that decision-making process. It just made sense to us that I would take on that role.”

Pegula could have easily stepped in Brandon’s role temporarily while she and Terry searched for another person to fill the job, but Kim says she wasn’t interested in going that route.

“I said, ‘I don’t want to do that, because, honestly, I don’t want people to think that this is just something temporary, I’m just going to jump in and say I’m going to do it just for optics,’” Kim said. “I am — and I told my staff this — committed to being in that role of president. But I have a far more experienced, skilled staff than most clubs do and, so, I feel like some of that is going to be on their shoulders. And they were all very supportive of it. I mean, they probably weren’t going tell me no,” she laughed, “but I did ask.”

“Plus, we have a little bit different organizational structure than, I think, other clubs, so with PSE and combining both (the Sabres and Bills), I’ve got a very, very high-level executive team that manages all the business aspects of both the teams and, actually, all of our organization. So I feel like they were the ones on the ground executing every day and they are, I would say, as high a level as any club individually. So I didn’t feel like this would be something, a new undertaking, that I would have to go on my own. They were already in place. These are people that were hand-picked to be in that role and, so, I just didn’t think it would be a stretch for me to assume the role.”