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'Big Big Rita News' Is Here: Benson to Restructure Leadership Team

Where's Rita? Read the story to find out the new roles of the Saints upper management. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Where's Rita? Read the story to find out the new roles of the Saints upper management. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The 'big big news' regarding Tom Benson's granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc that Fletcher Mackel tweeted about on Friday has finally arrived, after a prolonged and grueling 36-hour wait.

In a story posted early this morning by Mike Triplett of the, Triplett learned in a meeting with the Saints core management team on Friday that LeBlanc's new title is Vice-Chairwoman of the Board, and is part of a larger reorganization of the power structure of the Benson/Saints/Hornets Sports Media Empire that also involves Dennis Lauscha and Mickey Loomis.

Benson, who previously held the title of Saints owner and president, will serve as owner and chairman of the board. His granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, who has served as owner and executive vice president of the Saints since 2005, will now serve as vice-chairwoman of the board.

Make the jump for more (and props to WhoDatNez for dropping the original link into a Fanshot earlier this morning)...

"We've got a good team going, we really do," said Benson, who was surrounded as usual by his core management team of LeBlanc, Lauscha and Loomis as he sat down in his office Friday to discuss the new roles.

And with the recent acquisition of the Hornets NBA franchise, it makes sense that roles would have to change for the future.

LeBlanc said the idea behind the management restructuring is to clarify the Saints' roles as the entire company continues to evolve.

"There are many entities we're working with, and it's reached the point where it's physically impossible for all of us to be at everything that we have to manage," LeBlanc said. "That's why we have a team."

Benson, meanwhile, understands the need to lean heavily on his support staff, especially as his empire continues to expand.

First, more on the 'Rita news' people are dying to read. While continuing her ownership role with the Saints...

LeBlanc's expanded role will include enhanced management responsibilities within Zelia LLC, which includes properties such as Benson Tower and Champions Square as well as various interests in the automotive, real estate and banking sectors and multimedia platforms, including Fox affiliate WVUE.

In the meeting, Benson kind of addressed her recent leave of absence, too...

"You know, Rita took a couple months vacation there, and people got the wrong impression," Benson said. "We're not reducing her in any kind of way. You're looking at the whole organization, and you can see she's right there.

"And as we've taken on some of these outside activities, I told Rita I want her to get more involved in them, even if it took away some time here (with the Saints), and leaning on Dennis a little more."

What's in this for Lauscha, who has served as the team's executive vice president and chief financial officer? He's now the President of the Saints, a new position that Benson characterizes as "the title that he really deserves."

In his new position, Lauscha will continue in his role on the Saints' board of directors and will continue to oversee the financial operations of the team. He will also add the responsibilities of overseeing the club's marketing, ticket operations, legal department and community affairs, duties that previously fell exclusively under LeBlanc.

As for Loomis, he, along with Lauscha, is expected to be a big part of the Hornets management...

Benson could not expand on his plans for the Hornets management structure, because he has not officially taken ownership of the team. But it's clear that Lauscha and Mickey Loomis, the Saints' executive vice president and general manager, will have major roles with the Hornets.

Loomis will likely oversee basketball operations, with the Hornets' general manager reporting to him.

Hopefully this won't get added to his plate until AFTER he signs Drew Brees.

It was also noted that despite these changes, the Saints will still be Loomis's sandbox:

Lauscha won't be any more hands-on in football decisions, though. That's Loomis' department. Loomis, 55, will continue to have the largest amount of responsibility and authority in running the football operations.

* * *

OK, now that I've excerpted this for you, what are your thoughts on these moves for the Saints major power brokers?

Are they really that big of a deal, or is this just a bunch of corporate blah blah blah that won't really change anything as far as the average fan is concerned?