Browns announce front office changes

FILE - In this July 31, 2013, file photo, Cleveland Browns general manager Mike Lombardi, left, and assistant general manager Ray Farmer stand on the field during training camp at the NFL football team's facility in Berea, Ohio.  

David Richard/AP

The Cleveland Browns announced a major reconstruction of their front office Tuesday morning including the exit of general manager Michael Lombardi and Joe Banner transitioning out of his role as CEO.  

Ray Farmer was promoted to general manager, and the club says he will take over the team’s football operations immediately. That includes leading the team through free agency and the draft.

During the 2013 draft, only Banner, Lombardi, coach Rob Chudzinski and Farmer sat at the head table in the draft room. With Chudzinski having been fired at the end of the regular season, three of them are gone 10 months later.

Team owner Jimmy Haslam said via a team release the organization appreciates Banner’s contributions and is grateful for Lombardi’s efforts working for the team.  

"First of all, we wanted to capitalize on the knowledge, experience and character we’re fortunate to have in Ray Farmer," Haslam said. "Ray has a tremendous football IQ, he’s compelling, and he understands the types of players we need to acquire and develop in order to win in Cleveland. He embraces his partnership with (new head coach) Mike Pettine, which is critical in helping build the right team. Ray will provide excellent leadership in our front office."

In addition, the club announced team president Alec Scheiner will remain in charge of the organization’s business operations.

"The purpose of these moves is to unify our team with one, unequivocal goal: Provide our fans with the winning organization they have long deserved," Haslam said.

Farmer took his name out of the running for the Dolphins GM job in late January. He returned from the Senior Bowl the morning the Browns hired Pettine as head coach. Neither Banner nor Lombardi attended the Senior Bowl, though both worked closely with Haslam during the coaching search.

Banner called leaving the team "bittersweet."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Jimmy Haslam and helping him set the infrastructure for this franchise," Banner said via the team release. "I am proud of the talented individuals we brought in to help lead this team and feel that the Cleveland Browns are in good hands moving forward."

The team has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday morning.