Deloitte CEO, Cathy Engelbert, will become the new commissioner of the WNBA beginning July 17, following her success as the first women ever to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S.
The appointment comes at a critical time for the WNBA as the league is in the early stages of rebranding itself in an attempt to increase revenue and expand its audience ahead of the 2019 season, which begins May 24.
NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said it is a combination of Engelbert’s basketball experience and business knowledge that makes her suited for the role.
“Cathy is a world-class business leader with a deep connection to women’s basketball, which makes her the ideal person to lead the WNBA into its next phase of growth.
“The WNBA will benefit significantly from her more than 30 years of business and operational experience including revenue generation, sharp entrepreneurial instincts and proven management abilities,” Mr Silver said.
During her time at Deloitte, Engelbert led a large transformation across the business by moving the firm towards emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, robotics and cloud, including securing ecosystem partnerships with large technology companies, and executing digital acquisitions.
While she was CEO of Deloitte, the company’s revenues grew over 30% and she introduced a holistic well-being culture through programs like Deloitte’s 16-week family leave policy.
“It is an absolute privilege to be joining the WNBA at such an exciting and important time in its history,” Engelbert said.
“I see tremendous opportunity to bolster visibility for the sport of women’s basketball, empower the players, and enhance fan engagement.
“I look forward to using my business expertise and passion for basketball to promote women in the game and beyond, and to work with the teams and world-class athletes to help grow this league into a thriving business,” she said.
Engelbert is set to replace Lisa Borders, who officially stepped down as WNBA commissioner in October 2018 to become the first ever president and chief executive of Time’s Up, the organisation founded to support the #MeToo movement.