Nine months after taking control of the Buffalo Bills and solidifying their place as Buffalo’s most important sports family, the Pegulas have named their man to head business operations on both the hockey and football side.
Russ Brandon has worn many hats with the Bills since Ralph Wilson hired him in 1997, though his most important job has always been the same: to keep a small market team financially viable in a league where the top end teams are worth more than a billion dollars.
Now, Terry and Kim Pegula have announced Brandon, the Bills president since 2013, will head up the business operations for both the Bills and the Sabres. Brandon, who did serve for a time in 2008 and 2009 as the Bills general manager in charge of football decisions in a sort-of management by committee set-up, said he will not be making decisions about player personnel for either the Bills or the Sabres.
In making the announcement, the Pegulas also announced the departure of Sabres president Ted Black. Black had come with the Pegulas from Pennsylvania, where the family had become acquainted with him as an executive with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Black had become a visible face of the franchise, interacting directly with fans on game days and elsewhere. The Pegulas termed it a mutual parting of the ways.
Brandon has never worked for a professional hockey team. He was a part of the marketing department for the then-Florida Marlins when Wilson hired him to work for the Bills.