Rob Walton released the statement on behalf of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group on Monday.
“We’re pleased to welcome former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to our ownership group. 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. She is the daughter of a football coach and served on the inaugural College Football Playoff Committee. She moved to Denver with her family when she was 12 years old and went on to attend the University of Denver for both college and graduate school. Her unique experience and extraordinary judgment will be a great benefit to our group and the Broncos organization.”Rob Walton
Rice was the U.S. secretary of state from 2005 to 2009 under President George W. Bush.
“It is an honor to be part of this ownership group. Football has been an integral part of my life since the moment it was introduced to me, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Broncos organization today. I spent much of my younger years in Denver, so to be able to combine my love of the game with my love for this great city and team is an adventure of a lifetime and a great opportunity,” Rice said in an emailed statement.
Rice still has strong ties to DU.
“She’s just such a wonderful role model for our students,” said Fritz Mayer, the dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at DU. “She’s such a presence here at the school.”
Mayer said he is glad to see the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group bringing in another accomplished black woman on this level.
“To me, this is path-breaking. Not surprising that Condi would be a path breaker,” Mayer said.
Simone D. Ross agrees. She is the CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and an alum of the Urban League Foundation of Colorado.
“As an African American woman, oh my goodness, it is incredible to see a woman that has transcended politics, and business, and academia to move into this next realm, this exciting chapter for, of course her, and all of us,” Ross said.
She hopes this is the beginning of a trend of inclusion, that could have real impact.
“The intentionality really should be a blueprint for business for corporations in this country. When people say they want equity and diversity, oftentimes they forget that piece, that it requires intentionality,” Ross said.
Rice is the second black woman to be added to the ownership group. Mellody Hobson was the first. She is the chairwoman of Starbucks and the CEO of Ariel Investments.
The ownership group has been reportedly talking to Peyton Manning about a potential role in the organization. Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said the future of Mile High will be the new owner’s top priority.
At this point, the new ownership group has reached a purchase agreement from the Pat Bowlen Trust but there are still several steps before the sale is finalized.
The Bowlen Trust was established before Pat Bowlen’s death and was composed of his children. In the years since there have been several lawsuits, but last year the final suit was settled and an agreement to sell the team was reached.
There were several bids for the team, but the Walton-Penner Group, as it’s being called, submitted a bid for $4.65 billion that was selected as the winning bid.
Walton is the chairman of the Walmart Board and an heir to Sam Walton, the company’s founder. Forbes estimates his net worth at $58.8 billion.