After announcing the decision to make a change at general manager, team president Mark Murphy initially stated that Thompson's successor could hire and fire the head coach. At some point, Murphy opted instead to retain that power for himself. That revelation came as a surprise to many, including Gutekunst.
"It was certainly different than what I've been exposed to here in Green Bay," Gutekunst revealed during an interview with PackersNews.com. "I needed some time to kind of process it. I think the thing to me that made it OK with me was the people. The relationships I already had with Mark [Murphy] and Mike McCarthy and Russ Ball. I think that's what made it OK and made it easier for me. But it was certainly something I hadn't seen or been a part of in my professional career."
Gutekunst grew up professionally within the Packers organization, joining the team as a scout in 1998 and moving up the ranks steadily over the ensuing two decades. He worked with Thompson and other personnel executives when Green Bay drafted Rodgers, hired McCarthy, made the highly controversial decision to move on from future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, and won Super Bowl XLV. Gutekunst's deep roots with the franchise might well explain why he came to accept a somewhat diminished GM role.
Though Gutekunst said he needed time to "process" Murphy's decision, he feels positive about succeeding his mentor as Packers general manager.
"It was something I wasn't expecting," Gutekunst said, "but I'm pretty happy with where we're at with it now."