Chairman & CEO - Kansas City Chiefs
Clark Hunt has been involved in the leadership of the Kansas City Chiefs for nearly two decades and currently serves as the club’s Chairman and CEO.
In January 2013, Hunt hired Head Coach Andy Reid and modified the leadership structure of the organization, announcing that for the first time in club history, the head coach, the general manager and the team president would all report directly to the Chairman and CEO.
In the club’s past five seasons with Reid at the helm, the Chiefs have qualified for the playoffs four times and have won more games (53) than any other new coach in that amount of time in franchise history. Off the field, the Chiefs have made significant strides developing the fan experience, utilizing new technologies and innovative ideas.
In 2013, Hunt and the Chiefs enjoyed a record-setting resurgence en route to a return to the NFL postseason. Kansas City set a franchise record for the best single-season turnaround in the organization’s 58-year history as the team finished with an 11-5 record — a nine-win improvement from the 2012 season.
Following the dramatic turnaround in 2013, Hunt was named the 2014 Waddell & Reed Executive of the Year by the Kansas City Sports Commission for his outstanding leadership in the Kansas City sports community.
The Chiefs returned to the postseason following the 2015 season, which saw a historic turnaround from a 1-5 record to a franchise-record 10-game win streak to close out the season. The club went on to a 30-point shutout victory at Houston in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, marking the franchise’s first postseason victory in more than 20 years.
The Chiefs secured a spot in the NFL postseason for the second-consecutive season in 2016, finishing with a 12-4 record and winning the AFC West for the first time since 2010. The 12-4 mark was the club’s best finish since going 13-3 in 2003, earning a first-round bye and an AFC Divisional Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City swept the AFC West in 2016, the first time since 1995 that the club went undefeated in the division. The team appeared in a league-high six primetime contests during the year.
Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Hunt extended Reid’s contract, making him the longest-tenured Chiefs head coach since Dick Vermeil’s five-year stint (2001-05). On July 10, 2017, Hunt made a change in the leadership of the personnel department, naming Chiefs Co-Director of Player Personnel Brett Veach as the seventh General Manager in franchise history.
With Reid and Veach at the helm, the 2017 Chiefs secured back-to-back AFC West titles for the first time in franchise history and qualified for the playoffs for the third-consecutive season, marking the first time the club has reached the postseason in three-straight years since a stretch of six-straight appearances from 1990-95.
Hunt’s proven business acumen, coupled with two decades of experience working side-by-side with his father, American sports pioneer and Chiefs Founder Lamar Hunt, helped shape his vision for the storied franchise.
“Our fans are the foundation of the Chiefs. Our goal is to provide them with a team that can consistently compete for championships and the best gameday experience in the National Football League,” Hunt said.
To meet that goal, Hunt and his family committed $125 million to the renovation of Arrowhead Stadium — an extensive modernization project that will keep Kansas City “The Home of the Chiefs” for decades to come. The $375-million renovation, which was completed in 2010, provides Chiefs fans with the first-class amenities of the finest sports venues in the world while maintaining the distinct soul and mystique that makes Arrowhead one of the most iconic stadiums in the NFL.
Hunt is also focused on improving the gameday experience for Chiefs fans. In 2013, the Chiefs installed a new stadium-wide Wi-Fi network and launched the Chiefs Mobile application, enabling fans to connect to their team and to each other in new, unique ways. Prior to the 2017 football season, the Wi-Fi access points inside the seating bowl were upgraded for a better in-stadium mobile experience. In 2017, the club was honored by the Kansas City Business Journal as a Champion of Business, recognizing leadership within industry, innovation and commitment to giving back to the community.
Over the last several years, Hunt has emerged as a leading voice among NFL owners. Hunt was one of 10 NFL owners charged by Commissioner Roger Goodell with negotiating the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement which was completed in 2011. Goodell praised Hunt’s ability to find creative compromises throughout the process and for his leadership in the negotiations.
“[Clark] had a critical role in getting [the] agreement completed and getting us back to football,” Commissioner Goodell said in August 2011. “He is very credible, very smart and has a very strong ability to listen and find solutions. He was very effective with both sides. The players clearly expressed that to me, and the owners have expressed that to me. He has, obviously, not only my respect but, obviously, the respect of everyone involved in the negotiations.”
In 2006, Hunt was asked to serve on the eight-member Commissioner Search Committee which recommended Goodell as the successor to then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. In 2007, Commissioner Goodell appointed Hunt to the NFL’s Digital Media and International Committees, as well as the Executive Committee of the NFL Management Council. In 2011, Hunt was named Chairman of the International Committee and joined the league’s Finance Committee. In 2015, Hunt was named as one of six members to the NFL’s Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities. The committee evaluated various aspects of the league’s potential return to Los Angeles, which came to fruition in early 2016 as the St. Louis Rams relocated to Los Angeles, the city where they spent 48 years (1946-1994) playing professional football. Hunt also serves on the league’s Conduct, Compensation, and Chairmen’s committees.
As Chairman of the International Committee, Hunt has played a key role in expanding the league’s international efforts and the NFL’s footprint overseas. The league has hosted a regular-season contest in London’s iconic Wembley Stadium since 2007. In response to the overwhelming demand from NFL fans in the United Kingdom, the league expanded the NFL London Game Series to feature two games in 2013, three games in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons and four games in 2017. In 2015, the Chiefs hosted the Detroit Lions in the final of three London games at Wembley Stadium, leaving the UK with a 45-10 victory. The league will host three games in London in 2018, including two at Wembley Stadium and one at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium which was developed through a partnership between the NFL and the English Premier League club. At the conclusion of the 2018 season, 30 teams will have played a total of 24 London contests.
On November 19, 2018, the Chiefs will travel to Mexico City to play in the club’s second regular season international contest, an away game vs. the Los Angeles Rams on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The game will mark the third-consecutive year with an NFL Mexico contest at Estadio Azteca in the country’s capital city.
In addition to his work at the league level, Hunt and his family continue to innovate and invest in new ways to reach fans. In 2013, after more than a year in development, the Hunt family debuted the first phase of the Arrowhead Art Collection, highlighting regional artwork while promoting culture, providing educational opportunities and engaging the community in a way that touches individuals of all ages and walks of life. In total, 35 pieces of art have been installed at Arrowhead Stadium, combining two parts of the cultural fabric of Kansas City — sports and the arts — inside a regional architectural masterpiece in its own right, Arrowhead Stadium.
The Dallas, Texas, native is also a founding investor-operator in Major League Soccer. Hunt serves as Chairman of Hunt Sports Group and FC Dallas. Hunt and his family were instrumental in bringing professional soccer to Kansas City, founding a charter franchise, the Kansas City Wizards, later renamed Sporting Kansas City. Hunt Sports Group sold the Kansas City franchise to local investors in 2006. In 2013, Hunt Sports Group sold the operating rights of the Columbus Crew franchise after founding the club and 18 years of ownership. Hunt is actively involved in the continued growth of MLS and serves as a member of the MLS Board of Governors, and Commissioner Don Garber’s Executive Committee, and he is chairman of the competition committee.
Since 2000, Hunt Sports Group has celebrated 10 championships with three different MLS clubs, including the 2000 (Kansas City) and 2008 (Columbus) MLS Cup Championships. Hunt Sports Group clubs also claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2002 (Columbus), 2004 (Kansas City) and 2016 (Dallas), and earned the MLS Supporters’ Shield – awarded to the MLS club with the best regular-season record – five times.
Hunt Sports Group has also been at the forefront of stadium development in the United States. In 1999, the Hunt family constructed Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio – the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States. In 2005, Hunt Sports Group opened Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s most unique soccer facilities. The stadium has served as a model for soccer-specific stadiums in North America and will serve as the new home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which is scheduled to open on October 20, 2018 as part of a $40 million renovation to Toyota Stadium.
Hunt graduated first in his class at Southern Methodist University in 1987, earning a degree in business administration with a concentration in finance. He was a two-time recipient of the university’s highest academic honor, the Provost Award for Outstanding Scholar. During his career, he was a four-year letterman on the Mustangs’ nationally ranked soccer team, earning first-team Academic All-America honors as a junior and senior and serving as a tri-captain his final season. He was named one of the SMU Cox School of Business Outstanding Young Alumni in 2004, and in 2005, he was appointed to the Cox School Executive Board of Trustees. Hunt currently serves on the SMU Board of Trustees.
Clark Knobel Hunt graduated from the St. Mark’s School of Texas in 1983. He is married to the former Tavia Shackles of Kansas City. The Hunts are actively involved in numerous philanthropic initiatives in both Kansas City and Dallas, including Harvesters and Lift Up America, as well as the annual Chiefs Charity Game.
In its 35th year, the Chiefs Charity Game is one of the many Kansas City traditions started by the Hunt family and is the longest-running and most successful charity game in the NFL. Last year’s game, the final installment of a three-year partnership benefitting The Children’s Place, raised a record $848,000. The initiative has netted more than $8 million for various charities over the last 15 years and has generated more than $13 million since its inception. In September of 2017, the Chiefs announced that Cornerstones of Care, a Kansas City-based youth and family advocacy organization, will be the next Chiefs Charity Game beneficiary. The club was named 2016 Business Philanthropist of the Year by Nonprofit Connect, an association linking the nonprofit community to education, resources and networking opportunities so organizations can more effectively achieve their missions.
In 2017, the Chiefs and the Hunt Family Foundation were voted a finalist for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award, recognizing the influence of sports in inspiring healthy change in communities through innovation and collaboration. Hunt was also honored as the ownership representative to win a Steinberg-DeNicola Humanitarian Award for using the NFL’s platform and his own personal efforts to drive change in peoples’ lives for the better.
The Hunt family continues its support of many city and team-themed traditions that were established under the leadership of franchise Founder Lamar Hunt. Included in this list of Hunt family traditions are the 101 Awards — Kansas City’s Salute to Professional Football, which celebrated its 48th edition in 2018, 50-plus years of the Chiefs Kickoff Luncheon and more than a quarter-century of Red Friday celebrations.
In addition to legacy events, the Chiefs and Hunt Family Foundation continue to identify ways to make a difference in the community. As a founding sponsor for City Year Kansas City in 2015, the Hunt Family Foundation supported a team of AmeriCorps members at Central Middle School in Kansas City. These members serve as full-time tutors and mentors for youth at the school and are part of a larger network of 58 AmeriCorps members at six different schools in the Kansas City Public School District.
As part of the Chiefs celebration of 50 years in Kansas City in 2012, Hunt served as the featured speaker at the 10th Annual American Royal Business and Scholarship Luncheon, joining scholarship winners and the business community to kick off the American Royal Season, which has been a Kansas City tradition since 1899.
In September 2012, the Hunts served as honorary chairs for the 2012 “Treads & Threads” charity event benefiting The University of Kansas Health System. In April 2013, Hunt and his family received the Metropolitan Community College ‘Five Star Award’ for their significant contributions to the Kansas City community over the last five decades. Hunt was also recognized as a Community SuperStar by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City for his commitment to the city through athletics and charitable giving in 2013.
In October 2013, Clark and Tavia Hunt served as honorary co-chairs of the Kemper Museum Gala and served as Honorary Chairs for the 2015 United Way Annual Luncheon. They also served as Honorary Co-Chairs at the 2016 JDRF Dream Gala and were Honorary Chairs for the 2018 MOCSA Community Luncheon. In June of 2017, the Hunt Family Foundation and the Kansas City Chiefs were honored with the Partner in Excellence Award for The University of Kansas Health System Hall of Fame.
The Hunts have three children – Gracelyn, Knobel and Ava.