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Promotion WIDE

Bears appoint Corey Ruff to SVP of strategy and analytics, chief of staff

After seven years of building the Bears' business analytics department, Corey Ruff has been promoted to senior vice president of strategy and analytics & chief of staff. Ruff's success in transforming and leading a department will evolve into elevating organizational operations.

Story by Gabby Hajduk

Corey Ruff took a leap of faith in 2016 when he moved halfway across the country with his wife, Janine, to join the Bears as the director of business analytics — a brand new role at the club.

Janine was nine months pregnant with their first child at the time. On the same weekend that Ruff accepted the job, the couple also had to find a house and a hospital, all while leaving the East Coast, where both their families resided.

Ruff previously held positions at the NBA and MLB league offices with their ticketing and business operations departments. His jump to the Bears would be his first at the team level — a necessary move for Ruff to achieve his long-term goal of leading an organization.

"I took a director-level job here at the Bears initially. I was super excited, but extremely nervous," Ruff said. "You have imposter syndrome where you don't necessarily know that you made the right decision, and you question yourself. There were definitely conversations and moments of my early tenure where I was like, 'Did I make the right decision?'"

Now seven years later, Ruff is celebrating a promotion from vice president to senior vice president as well as chief of staff, where he will work alongside President & CEO Kevin Warren to support organizational operations. Reflecting on the path that led him to this role, Ruff "couldn't have imagined this happening" when he first started with the Bears.

"Thrilled is probably an understatement," Ruff said. "I have a personal goal, and I've shared this with Kevin, that I want to be a team president one day. Learning from Kevin and having him mentor me and just being able to pick up on things like how he works with the McCaskey family and the board of directors and business executives, it is going to be incredible. I'm here to learn as much as I can, but at the same time, this isn't an internship. I still have to produce, and I still have to execute. I'm hoping to learn as much as I can and I will soak it all in, but at the same time I will be running faster than ever to execute all of Kevin's grand aspirations.

"I'm super grateful to the McCaskey family, Kevin, [vice president of human resources] Liz Geist and [executive vice president of stadium development and COO] Karen Murphy for providing me an opportunity and supporting me on this path. I am extremely thankful to have the support of my family. I'm also thankful to my business analytics team for helping me reach this point. I couldn't have done this without any of them and I'm very appreciative for everything that they do."

Along with the Ruff's new responsibilities, he will continue leading the Bears' business analytics department to drive the club's short and long-term growth.

As chief of staff, Ruff will focus on creating organizational efficiencies to help Warren with his goals of building a world-class franchise.

"Corey is a rare talent who has a phenomenal work ethic," Warren said. "This expanded role reflects the tremendous contributions he has made to our organization and the trust I have in Corey that he will continue to impact our franchise in a unique and exceptional manner. His data-driven insights and strategic acumen have been instrumental in providing insight as we continue to drive excellence, growth and success. We are excited to see Corey continue to shape the future of the Chicago Bears in this new capacity. I am grateful to our chairman George H. McCaskey and the entire McCaskey family for providing me with a platform to promote Corey to this well-deserved and critically important role that will positively impact the Chicago Bears franchise." 

"We are excited to see Corey's growth within the Chicago Bears organization," McCaskey said. "His leadership in business strategy and analytics has set new standards for innovation and success within the organization. Corey's promotion reflects our confidence in his abilities, and we look forward to his continued contributions."

Ruff joins Karen Murphy as the second Bears executive to be promoted this week, a fitting pair as Murphy was one of Ruff's early supporters when he joined the club.

"Karen has been a great mentor, and at the same time, an advocate for the analytics work," Ruff said. "She helped start the analytics team. I happened to be the body that she hired, but she was the one that was helping to get the department started. So, I don't want to lose sight over her impact on all of this."

Through his tenure with the Bears, Ruff has excelled in building a world-class analytics department. Under his innovative leadership, the club has achieved remarkable success in pricing analyses, reporting capabilities and international business strategy. Ruff has also set competitive organizational KPIs and effectively measured the impact of corporate partnerships.

Ruff attributes some of that growth to his curiosity to learn and pursuit of mentorship. He earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Business as well as Psychology from Lafayette College in 2009, and is now earning a Master of Liberal Arts in Management from Harvard University.

The opportunity to also learn from Warren and his vast network is one Ruff is eager to take on. He believes Warren is catapulting the Bears into the next generation of business growth, stadium development and football success. As Ruff transitions into his new role, he is excited to contribute to those tasks.

"I'm very humble and very grateful for this moment," Ruff said. "I don't take any of it for granted because anything could happen. I'm going to maximize this opportunity to learn as much as I can and to continue to develop, but really to grow the Bears brand, grow their business and help bring multiple Super Bowls and a new stadium to the organization."

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