Arthur Blank to hire a CEO to run businesses, including Falcons

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Arthur Blank has always been a hands-on owner, from his days pushing then-quarterback Michael Vick’s wheelchair around.

But the soon-t0-turn 73-year-old told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was ready to take a step back from his day-to-day responsibilities, and hire a CEO to oversee all his business, including the Falcons.

My role will be different going forward,” Blank said. “… I think it’s a healthy time for somebody else to take the reins in terms of certain responsibilities in our organization.”

Blank said he wanted to spend more time with his family and philanthropic efforts, and hiring a CEO will help his schedule for “my own goals at this stage of my life.”

He insisted the decision was not health-related, and that he was not looking to sell the Falcons.

“Our plan is to keep all of our businesses, to keep all of our franchises, and it’s part of our estate plan,” Blank said.

The new hire will oversee Falcons president Rich McKay, but General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn will continue to report to Blank.

“If I was disengaging from the businesses, I think it would be [difficult], because I’m not the kind of person who would do well sitting under a tree reading books all day,” Blank said.

He’s already interviewed several candidates, and hopes to have his hire in place by the end of the year.