New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is revamping the team's front office, creating a position within the organization to elevate Saints executive vice president and chief financial officer Dennis Lauscha and increasing general manager Mickey Loomis' responsibilities within Benson's growing sports empire.
According to Mike Triplett of The Times-Picayune, once Benson officially takes ownership of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, Lauscha will add those titles with the NBA club and has been elevated to the newly created president position with the Saints. In that new role, Lauscha will oversee the business operations of the Saints, including many roles that were previously performed by Rita Benson LeBlanc, Tom Benson's granddaughter, who was placed on "unofficial administrative leave" earlier this year and will be taking on a managerial role within all of the family's business dealings.
"You know, Rita took a couple months vacation there, and people got the wrong impression," Benson said of his granddaughter. "We're not reducing her in any kind of way. You're looking at the whole organization, and you can see she's right there. ... And as we've taken on some of these outside activities, I told Rita I want her to get more involved in them, even if it took away some time here (with the Saints), and leaning on Dennis a little more."
Lauscha will not gain authority over the football operations, however, which will still be managed by Loomis. The 2006 NFL Executive of the Year will be suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 NFL regular season over the team's "bounty" scandal, time the 55-year-old can spend acclimating himself with the NBA as he'll be overseeing the basketball operations of the Hornets. Loomis praised Lauscha for his role in the team's success the last few seasons, and it's possible that Lauscha could chip in with the running of the Saints while Loomis serves his suspension.
"Look, the success we've had since '06, Sean (Payton) gets a lot of credit for it, the players obviously get a lot of credit for it, well deserved. Mr. B and Rita and myself, we've gotten plenty of accolades," Loomis said. "But I think Dennis is one guy who hasn't probably been as touted as the rest of us. And yet I would tell you, none of our success would have happened without his efforts."