Jim Finks, former general manager of the Chicago Bears, today was named president and general manager of the National Football League's New Orleans Saints.

Tom Benson, who bought the Saints last season, announced Finks' hiring and said he would become part owner.

"We have been working to win and now we bring you a winner," Benson said.

Finks said he already has begun the search for a new coach.

"There are many people we'll be talking to," he said, "but at this point we're a long way from naming a new coach."

Finks referred to the Saints never having had a winning season in their 19-year history.

"I have strong feelings that this club is a better team than the record would indicate," he said. "But in the final analysis they pay off on the record. I've seen clubs with less material become a team and win, and I think that's the No. 1 objective here."

Finks, 58, replaces Bum Phillips, who resigned as head coach and general manager before the end of the 1985 season. The Saints finished 5-11.

Phillips was in his fifth year with the Saints when he quit with four games left.

In 1956, Finks served as an assistant to Coach Terry Brennan at Notre Dame. He served as a general manager of Calgary in the Canadian Football League before joining the NFL's Minnesota Vikings in 1964.

In 1974, he joined the Bears as general manager and stayed with them until the start of the 1983 season.

In 1984, he joined the management of major league baseball's Chicago Cubs. But he left after a year, reportedly because of a power struggle. Since then he had been serving as a consultant with a public relations firm.