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The NFL Players Association’s board of player representatives has elected Lloyd Howell as the NFLPA’s new executive director.

Howell will take over for DeMaurice Smith, with an official start date “in the coming weeks,” according to a release from the NFLPA. Smith was reelected to his fifth term for the position in 2021, and he said at the time it would be his final term. Howell becomes the NFLPA’s fourth executive director, following Ed Garvey (1971-1983), Gene Upshaw (1983-2008) and Smith (2009-present).

“We are excited to have Lloyd lead our union into its next chapter and succeed DeMaurice Smith, who has ably led our organization for the past decade plus and has our gratitude and thanks,” NFLPA president JC Tretter said in a statement. “It was important for us to run a process that lived up to the prestige of the position we sought to fill. The process was 100% player led and focused on leadership competency, skills and experience. Our union deserves strong leadership and a smooth transition, and we are confident Lloyd will make impactful advances on behalf of our membership.”

The search, which lasted several months, was conducted by an 11-member NFLPA search committee made up of the union’s executive officers, including Tretter and vice presidents Calais Campbell, Austin Ekeler and Richard Sherman.

“I want to congratulate Lloyd Howell on his election as Executive Director of the NFL Players Association and to thank DeMaurice Smith for his continued partnership and unstinting work on behalf of NFL players,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Lloyd and his team to continue growing the game and making it better, safer, and more accessible and attractive to fans around the world.”

Russell Reynolds, an executive search firm, also assisted in the process, along with NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso. Players such as Pittsburgh Steelers player representative Cam Heyward praised the process’ discretion.

“Our @NFLPA EC and President @JCTretter did an amazing job to keep it confidential, professional, find someone who will steer our great union forward!” Heyward tweeted.

Howell retired in December from Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked for more than 34 years and was the chief financial officer at the time of his retirement. He also is a trustee at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a bachelor’s degree from Penn in electrical engineering and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“The opportunity to represent the players is a privilege,” Howell said in the release. “I look forward to building relationships and the solidarity amongst our players. The history and strength of this institution is impressive, and I look forward to driving our bold goals and achieving them together in the future.”

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NFLPA elects Lloyd Howell as new executive director