Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is joining the Denver Broncos’ incoming ownership group.
The franchise announced Rice’s addition to the Walton-Penner Family ownership group on Monday morning, adding another high-powered Black woman to the small set of investors that is headed by Walmart heir Rob Walton and his daughter and son-in-law.
“We’re pleased to welcome former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to our ownership group,” Walton said in a statement Monday. “A highly respected public servant, accomplished academic and corporate leader, Secretary Rice is well known as a passionate and knowledgeable football fan who has worked to make the sport stronger and better.”
FROM NFL QB TO MUSHROOM FARMER:Jake Plummer’s life-altering journey into the queendom of fungi
NFL’S NEXT SPLASHY STADIUM?:For Broncos owner-to-be Rob Walton, venue issue looms large
Rice served as Secretary of State for the final four years of George W. Bush’s presidency and also has an extensive background in sports. From 2013-2016, she served on the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Rice, a Birmingham, Alabama native, also has connections to Denver and Colorado. She lived in Denver during her childhood and holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver.
Rice and the Walton-Penner family also share connections through their histories at Stanford University. Rice is currently the director of the Hoover Institution at the school and was the provost there when both Carrie Walton-Penner and Greg Penner, Rob Walton’s daughter and son-in-law, graduated from university graduate programs in the 1990s.
Walton-Penner and Penner are expected to have a significant presence in the day-to-day running of the franchise.
The financial terms of Rice’s addition to the ownership group and her potential role in the operation were not immediately known.
Rice joins Mellody Hobson, the co-CEO of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and also the chairwoman of Starbucks, as the only two non-family members known to be part of the Walton-Penner ownership group so far.
“(Rice’s) unique experience and extraordinary judgment will be a great benefit to our group and the Broncos organization,” Walton said.
The Walton-Penner group entered into a purchase agreement with the Pat Bowlen Trust to buy the Broncos franchise for a North American sports record $4.65 billion on June 7. The sale is still pending a formal vote of the NFL’s full ownership group, a process that is expected to be completed before the 2022 regular season begins.