As Detroit Lions Team President and CEO, Rod Wood oversees all football and business operations of the Lions organization and reports directly to Principal Owner and Chair Sheila Ford Hamp. He was originally appointed Team President on Nov. 19, 2015.
Following organizational changes at the end of the 2020 season, Wood and Mrs. Hamp set out to establish a new leadership vision for the Lions. On December 15, 2020, Wood welcomed Lions Legend Chris Spielman to a formal role in the organization as Special Assistant to President/CEO and Chairperson. Together, along with Chief Operating Officer Mike Disner, the group began the process of bringing the right general manager and head coach to Detroit.
The thorough search for the Lions' new leadership tandem resulted in the arrival of Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. Holmes was named executive vice president and general manager on January 14, 2021 after spending 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams (2003-20) in a variety of roles, including most recently director of college scouting. That same week, Campbell, a former tight end with 22 years of NFL experience, including 11 as a coach and 11 as a player, was named the team's new head coach.
With the hiring of Holmes and Campbell, the Lions' improved culture of communication, collaboration and innovation will continue to follow the lead of Wood and Mrs. Hamp's vision toward establishing long-term success on and off the field. In May 2022, Wood and Mrs. Hamp unveiled a new organizational leadership structure that included the hiring of two new senior positions in Brian Facchini, Chief Communications and Brand Officer, and Lindsay Verstegen, Chief People and Diversity Officer. The revamped leadership team has since set out to begin establishing long-term goals for the Lions that focus on football and organizational excellence, fan engagement, brand reputation and stadium experience.
With the support from Mrs. Hamp, Wood and the leadership team led the way for two major organizational announcements this past spring. At the 2022 NFL Annual Meeting, it was announced that the Lions were selected for the NFL's premier behind-the-scenes television series Hard Knocks, which will provide an inside look at Lions Training Camp this summer through collaboration with NFL Films and HBO. Days later, Detroit was announced as the host city for the 2024 NFL Draft, a project years in the making that Wood called a "momentous" opportunity for the city.
"We're close to most of the NFL cities, close to a lot of the college teams," Wood said. "The draft is kind of the intersection between college football and pro football, so I think there'll be a lot of people traveling because it's going to be easy to get to Detroit. I'm hoping it's going to rival what you've seen in some other cities, hundreds of thousands of people."
Upon his initial hiring, Wood immediately began evaluating all business functions within the Lions and Ford Field. Concurrent with his organizational evaluation, Wood's "everything is on the table" approach to shaping the business affairs of the franchise has made a tangible and positive impact on the business operations for both the Lions and Ford Field on and off the field.
In his six years, Wood has implemented significant changes that range from day-to-day operations to new branding and has done so guided by a mission to improve the team's competitive financial position, fan engagement and overall customer experience. Wood has strengthened the Lions and Ford Field brands with improved business partnerships and more strategic alliances that positively influence business initiatives and provide necessary financial support to the club's football operations.
In February 2017, Wood unveiled plans for the first major renovation to the Detroit Lions' home stadium, Ford Field, since it opened its doors in 2002. The $100 million investment incorporated a complete overhaul of the audio and visual experience that featured new videoboards as well as a new state-of-the-art sound system. The stadium's premium spaces also received a complete makeover with expanded offerings to fans.
With the fan game-day experience a primary focus for Wood, his team also implemented a significant upgrade to the stadium's Wi-Fi and oversaw the return of a team cheerleading squad for the first time in four decades.
During this time, the team also unveiled a comprehensive rebranding initiative that emphasized the classic colors of Honolulu Blue and Silver. At the forefront of the team's rebranding and perhaps its most visible assets, the Lions' new uniforms, revealed in April 2017, now feature Home, Away, Throwback and Color Rush combinations. In 2021, the team also unveiled a white pant that is now included in the uniform combinations.
Off the field, Wood provided support for an initial $600,000 commitment from Mrs. Ford and players in 2018 toward the launch of Detroit Lions Inspire Change, the team's social justice initiative in the City of Detroit. The initiative has since continued through grants to various Metro Detroit organizations and will remain as part of the team's community footprint in 2022.
Additionally, Wood has worked to improve the team's football infrastructure at the Lions' Allen Park practice facility. Over the past fouur years, the organization has completely renovated and updated the weight room and practice fields, along with other ongoing facility improvements and branding enhancements.
At the League level, Wood was appointed to and serves on the NFL's Investment Committee. For the eight years prior to his appointment as team president, Wood worked closely with the Detroit Lions organization and the Ford Family in his role as President and CEO of Ford Estates.
From 1999 until his appointment at Ford Estates in 2007, Wood was Executive Vice President of Wealth Management for the Wilmington Trust Company in Wilmington, Del., a $400 million operation with 17 offices in eight states. Wood directed the company's entire wealth management business nationally, and he managed the personal trust, financial planning, private banking, investment management, family office services and sales functions for the wealth advisory business of Wilmington Trust.
Prior to joining Wilmington Trust, Wood held an executive position with Comerica Bank where he oversaw 12 offices in four states.
Over the years, Wood has been a member on numerous company and non-profit boards. He now serves on the board of trustees and is an officer for Detroit Lions Foundation. He is also a member of the boards for Business Leaders For Michigan, an organization dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy; CATCH, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for pediatric patients and their families at Children's Hospital of Michigan and Henry Ford Hospital; the Downtown Detroit Partnership, which includes business, philanthropic and government partners that strengthen the city through strategic initiatives and programs; City Year Detroit, an organization that provides in-classroom support that helps students stay in school, become more engaged and perform better academically; as well as the Detroit Sports Organizing Corporation.
Wood graduated from Goodrich (Mich.) High School, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and a graduate degree from the ABA Graduate School of Commercial Banking.
Wood and his wife, Susan, have one daughter, Alison, and a son, Taylor.