The Detroit Lions have announced that Martha Firestone Ford, who took over after William Clay Ford Sr. died in 2014, has stepped down as the principal owner of the team. Sheila Ford Hamp will succeed her mother as the club’s principal owner and chairman.
“It has been a great honor for our family to be associated with the Lions and with the National Football League,” Firestone Ford wrote in a statement. “I am gratified that this family tradition, which my husband and I began almost six decades ago, will continue under Sheila’s guiding hand. It is clear to me that Sheila will provide superb leadership and is fully committed to competitive excellence and community involvement.”
“My mother has inspired all of us since taking on leadership of the Lions over six years ago,” Ford Hamp said in a statement. “She has been a tireless leader to our family, our team and our community. Her smart decisions have given me a solid foundation to take the team forward. On behalf of the family and the team, I want to thank her for her countless contributions. I look forward to leading the Lions to excellence on and off the field.”
The Ford family has owned the Lions since 1963, when William Clay Ford Sr. purchased the team. Firestone Ford took over the team following his passing in 2014.