THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers will announce as early as today that they have hired Ossama AbouZeid as the organization's new interim chief executive officer.
AbouZeid will be the club's first CEO since Lyle Bauer vacated the position after the 2009 season and he could not be more different than the iron-fisted former football player who used to lead the Bombers.
Instead of coming from the narrow world of football as Bauer did, AbouZeid comes from the worlds of international business and academics.
AbouZeid, an Egyptian-born businessman who immigrated to Winnipeg in 1974, is the former president and chief financial officer of manufacturing giant Buhler Industries. He is also the former president of Central Canadian Structures Inc., a Winnipeg-based construction and engineering firm with overseas projects as far away as Russia and the Middle East. AbouZeid has a doctorate in physics, a degree in engineering and an MBA. He is married with two children.
Most recently, AbouZeid has been the project manager for the Bombers' new $190-million stadium going up on the University of Manitoba campus.
Free Press sources confirmed AbouZeid's hiring as interim CEO on Tuesday. Bombers spokesman Darren Cameron said the club had no comment. Reached by telephone last night, AbouZeid also respectfully declined to comment. "Maybe you should wait until tomorrow," he said. "The club is planning to talk to you guys tomorrow... If you don't mind, I'd be very glad to talk to you after that."
Sources indicated that Jim Bell, the Bombers' president, will stay on in that job and remain responsible for most of the club's day-to-day operations.
Bauer resigned as Bombers CEO on Dec. 17, 2009 and the club has been without a chief executive ever since. Bell, vice-president of finance and administration when Bauer left, was ultimately named president.
Last December, at the same time as AbouZeid was brought on as project manager for the new stadium, local businessman Jeff Thompson was hired as chief transition officer to oversee the move to the new facility
-- Paul Wiecek