The Green Bay Packers organization looked outside the football realm to find its finance chief in the pro soccer world, naming Maureen Smith, a senior executive at the Minnesota United FC for the past seven years, as its new CFO, the Packers announced in a release Friday. She will take the CFO seat in September.
Smith, who joined the soccer club as controller in 2016 and rose in the ranks as the team grew from a minor league start-up into a Major League Soccer club, became its executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2018, one of only a handful of women at the time to hold that level position in the MLS, the release stated.
Smith will succeed Paul Baniel, the Green Bay, Wisconsin-based football organization’s vice president of finance and administration, who will retire in October, in overseeing the organization’s financial operations, a spokesperson said. Baniel’s “title … encapsulated the responsibilities. CFO is a new title for this position. So it is not a new position all together, but the first time we are explicitly calling it CFO,” the spokesperson wrote in an emailed response to questions.
Smith brings more than 20 years of experience in sports, healthcare, consulting and finance to the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers. With her previous employer, she saw the Minnesota soccer team grow from 50 employees to 150 full- and 300 part-time employees, and also oversaw the construction of the $250 million Allianz Field soccer stadium in Saint Paul, Minnesota, according to the release.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, she started out her career as a CPA in public accounting. She went on to work for the UnitedHealth Group as director of operations and later was executive director of WESAC Sports, a community-based youth sports association in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“She played a key role with Minnesota United FC as the team grew into a Major League Soccer club. Her impressive financial expertise, in a variety of industries, will be excellent assets to our organization. We look forward to seeing the impact she will have on the Packers as a member of our Senior Staff," Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy said in the release.
Smith is joining a storied organization that has had success on the field — they have won four Super Bowls — as well as in tapping into its fan base to obtain financing over the years. When the Green Bay Packers set out to raise money by selling shares to the public in 2021, it was the sixth time since 1924 management had given fans a chance to own a piece of the team, CFO Dive previously reported. But it was the first time the team had done the stock sale entirely online, with a Shopify-like cloud-based store that enabled it to manage the campaign on its own.