The master of the Midway

From the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of the Kellogg School of Management Alumni Magazine …

ted_phillipsBy Dave Wischnowsky

When he took a job at the accounting firm Ernst & Whinney in 1979, Ted Phillips ’89 had no idea he would one day end up with a career in the National Football League.

“I didn’t have a vision that I’d get into pro sports,” Phillips said. “I thought I’d end up as a partner at a public accounting firm.”

Then life called an audible. After two years as the firm’s tax client, the Bears hired Phillips in 1983 as controller. Over the next 16 years, Phillips worked his way up from director of finance to vice president of operations. He made history in 1999 when he was named the first Chicago Bears president and CEO who was not a member of the Halas and McCaskey clan — the family that has owned the NFL franchise for 94 years.

“It was an overwhelming feeling,” Phillips said. “I still look at every day as a blessing to have that unbelievable trust put in me. It’s very humbling.”

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