The Toronto Argonauts incoming ownership group today announced that Michael Copeland will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club after Bell Canada and Kilmer Group assume control of the team at the end of this year.
"Michael Copeland is a standout senior executive with a clear passion for Canadian football, and we’re delighted that he will lead the new Toronto Argonauts organization forward in 2016. Michael’s impressive range of cross-functional business skills and experience, proven by his strong track record of success at the Canadian Football League, are exactly what we wanted in the Argos’ new front office leader,” said Dale Lastman, representative for the new ownership group and an Alternate Governor of the CFL.
Chris Rudge, currently Executive Chairman and CEO of the Argos, will depart the organization as planned when his contract concludes at the end of 2015. "We’re grateful that such a renowned sports leader will continue to guide the Argos organization through the 2015 season. We thank Chris for his dedication to Toronto’s team and to the Canadian game,” said Mr. Lastman.
“Michael Copeland is an excellent choice to continue moving the Argos forward,” said Chris Rudge. “Following contract extensions for Jim Barker and Scott Milanovich, the move to BMO Field, a new practice facility and a new ownership group, this storied franchise is now in a position to resume its historic role amongst the most respected and successful brands in the Canadian sport pantheon.“
"Michael Copeland has provided positive leadership to our league. Working alongside three Commissioners, he has played an instrumental role in advances ranging from the salary cap to broadcast agreements to player relations and, most recently, a new direction for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame," said Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. "Although we will miss him in our office, we are absolutely thrilled he is taking on a new role with the Argonauts. Our league is only as strong as our teams. And with the Argos embracing a new home and new owners, combined with new leadership in the person of Mike Copeland, their future, and the future of the CFL, is that much brighter."
Said Michael Copeland: “It’s a great honour to be named as the next chief executive of the legendary Toronto Argonauts, a name that resounds across the Canadian sports landscape. There’s strong leadership and talent on the field and across the organization, and I’m eager to join with everyone in taking the Argos forward. We’re fully dedicated to delivering fans the greatest football experience at every level, supporting their passion for the iconic Argos brand every day as we focus on winning the Grey Cup every year.”
A seasoned Canadian business executive with an extensive business development, marketing and legal background, Mr. Copeland currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Football League responsible for all of the CFL’s business operations. Hired in January 2006 as Chief Operating Officer and promoted to President and COO in February 2013, Mr. Copeland led several key CFL initiatives including a comprehensive new broadcast and digital rights agreement, the establishment of a new salary cap system, a new collective bargaining agreement with CFL players, including the introduction of the CFL's first drug testing policy, and the return of CFL football to Ottawa.
Previously, Mr. Copeland served in senior marketing and strategic business development roles with Molson Coors Brewing Company and in senior consultant roles with Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte Consulting. He earlier practiced corporate and commercial law with Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Toronto and with Harrison, Elwood in London, Ontario.
Mr. Copeland has a law degree from Western University and an MBA from Western University's Ivey School of Business. He is a recipient of the prestigious Canada's Top 40 Under 40 award, and serves on the board of WATERFRONToronto.