Hawks also announce executive promotions for David Lee and Nzinga Shaw
ATLANTA, GA – The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club announced today the promotions of three key senior leaders: Thad Sheely, David Lee and Nzinga Shaw. Sheely has been named Chief Operating Officer, Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, Lee promoted to Executive Vice President, External Affairs and Executive Director of the Atlanta Hawks Foundation and Shaw, the organization’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, has added the responsibilities of Senior Vice President, Community to her position. The club also announced the addition of Brett Stefansson as Executive Vice President, General Manager of Philips Arena.
Sheely joined the organization as Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Chief Financial Officer one year ago. In his new role as Chief Operating Officer, he will now add the oversight of the business, financial and strategic operations of Philips Arena to his current responsibilities. He will continue to oversee the accounting, finance and operations departments for the Hawks and Philips Arena as well as provide strategic leadership on all facility and large-scale projects, including the anticipated renovation of Philips Arena.
“Thad has quickly shown tremendous leadership in our organization, creating invaluable infrastructure and organization that has already proven beneficial. His outstanding work on the Emory Sports Medicine Complex has allowed us to complete an extremely complex deal in a timely fashion and begin development on a structure that will integrate four state-of-the-art facilities into a first of its kind training and medical center,” Koonin said.
Stefansson brings over 20 years of experience in the sports industry to the Hawks, having worked in professional (NBA, WNBA and NHL) and minor league sports (IHL, indoor soccer and arena football). Most recently, he served as Vice President and General Manager of the AT&T Center, home of the San Antonio Spurs, where his experience includes a recent $110 million dollar renovation, implementation of major energy conservation measures, and operational oversight of multiple facilities including the Spurs practice facility and a recently acquired 8,500-seat soccer stadium.
Prior to San Antonio, Stefansson spent thirteen years (2012-14, 1998-2009) with the BB&T Center, where he climbed to Sr. Vice President and General Manager, overseeing the 19,000-seat sports and entertainment venue and NHL practice facility in Sunrise, FL. During his tenure the arena earned consistent top-15 rankings in Pollstar Magazine as well as successfully establishing service training, employee incentive programs, and client surveys resulting in over 99% customer satisfaction.
“We are excited to add Brett to our leadership team. His vast experience overseeing and managing first class arenas and delivering an unparalleled level of customer service is vital to elevating our fan experience to a level that will ensure Philips Arena remains the premier sports and entertainment venue in the Southeast. His wealth of experience, specifically with major renovations and internal arena operations, will provide us a valuable resource as we prepare to transform Philips Arena into a next generation venue,” Koonin said.
“With Thad, Brett and Trey Feazell – one of the best arena programmers and event bookers in the business – we will have an extremely knowledgeable and experienced arena management team,” Koonin said.
“I am beyond excited by the vision for the Atlanta Hawks that was laid out to me by Principal Owner Tony Ressler, Steve, Thad and their leadership team,” Stefansson said. “The Hawks have established themselves as an innovative brand and have ambitious plans for Philips Arena, surrounding downtown areas and the Emory Sports Medicine Complex that I’m eager to be a part of.”
Promoted to Executive Vice President, External Affairs and Executive Director, Hawks Foundation, Lee will continue to provide the organization’s strategic focus and management of community impact, Basketball Programs, the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, the Atlanta Hawks Alumni program and governmental and civic relations. He has played an integral role in the Hawks Court Renovation Program, in which the Hawks Foundation has committed to increasing access for Metropolitan Atlanta’s youth to play, grow, and learn life and leadership skills through basketball and pledged to build or refurbish 25 courts in underserved communities throughout Atlanta.
The NBA’s first CDIO, Shaw has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Community. Since joining the organization in 2014, she has created a Diversity & Inclusion Council, increasing the company’s outreach efforts to the LGBT community, launched the Model Of Shaping Atlanta through Inclusive Conversations (MOSAIC), an on-going vehicle for the Hawks to facilitate effective discussion around acceptance across all socio-economic strata and led an internal forum this past summer that led to the recently-held Unity Game. She will now add the day-to-day oversight of the corporate social responsibility team to her CDIO responsibilities.
“David and Nzinga have been at the forefront of our community efforts over the past two years. They have built bridges to and made positive inroads with underserved and diverse communities. David’s efforts in rebranding the Hawks Foundation have been exemplary as has been his work with government and civic officials,” Koonin said. “Nzinga and her contributions in diversity and inclusion have served as a model to the NBA and other professional sports leagues and made our organization a leader in this respect. We are excited to grow her responsibilities into the corporate social responsibility space where she has already proven effective collaborating and engaging with different communities.”
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