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Tina Becker takes over Panthers, with Jerry Richardson stepping aside

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tina Becker was named the chief operating officer of the Carolina Panthers on Monday, taking team owner and founder Jerry Richardson out of the day-to-day management of the organization.

Richardson is under investigation by the NFL for allegations of workplace misconduct ranging from sexual harassment to the use of a racial slur with a former team scout.

The announcement of Becker's new position came less than 24 hours after Richardson announced he planned to put the team up for sale after the 2017 season.

Becker, according to the Panthers, now is one of the highest-ranking female executives among the league's 32 teams.

The decision to put Becker in this role was made by the Panthers and wasn't a request by the league, the team said.

"These have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organization," Becker said in a statement.

"Our team on the field is performing at a very high level, and I believe is bound for the Super Bowl. My immediate focus will be to ensure the corporate side of the organization performs at the same high level, while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days."

Becker has served in several roles with the organization, from directing the business and administrative priorities to dealing with league affairs. Prior to joining the front office she was the team's director of entertainment. She joined the team in 1999 as director of the team cheerleaders.

Becker has the endorsement ofHugh McColl, who was instrumental in bringing the Panthers to the Carolinas in the 1990s.

"Tina is the right person to lead this organization,'' McColl, the former chairman and CEO of Bank of America, said in a statement. "I know she is committed to the Panthers, to the city of Charlotte and to ensuring this organization is run in a professional and progressive manner."

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