Former Michigan AD David Brandon named new CEO at Toys R Us

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Former University of Michigan athletic director David Brandon was announced as the new chief executive officer of Toys R Us on Tuesday.

Brandon, who resigned from the athletic director job in October after scrutiny over changing Michigan traditions, including student seating seniority, handling of backup quarterback Shane Morris' concussion and sending terse emails to fans, will take over the position on July 1.

"I consider it a tremendous privilege to assume this important leadership role at Toys R Us, one of the most well-known retail brands in the world," Brandon said in a statement provided by the company.

With sales of $12.4 billion in 2014, Toys R Us is more than 83 times bigger, in total revenue, than Michigan athletics. Brandon's hiring comes at a time when the world's leading seller of toys and baby products continues to be challenged by the online marketplace.

"Dave Brandon has an exceptional track record of driving growth, operational performance and profitability in global businesses, while elevating brands and seizing opportunities in highly competitive markets," said outgoing CEO Antonio Urcelay, in a statement.

When he was hired by Michigan in 2010, Brandon was originally heralded as a "Michigan Man" who would bring his experience from the corporate world to the school.

But some fans thought Brandon was too corporate. It didn't help that Brandon was the one who hired former coach Brady Hoke, who was fired in December after a 31-20 record with the Wolverines over four seasons.

Prior to joining Michigan, Brandon, who played football at the school, was the CEO of Domino's Pizza for 11 years. Even though he took the Michigan job, he stayed on as chairman of the company and will still maintain the chairman position.

Bain Capital, which owns Toys R Us, also owned Domino's for a period of time when Brandon was its CEO. Michigan is paying Brandon $3 million from a settlement agreement through June of 2018.