Scandal-Plagued USA Gymnastics Hires NBA Executive Li Li Leung as New CEO

Li Li Leung spent two years watching USA Gymnastics struggle through the aftermath of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. A former college gymnast at the University of Michigan who still considered herself “embedded” in the sport while serving as a vice president with the NBA, Leung kept waiting for things to get better.

Only they didn’t. Leadership changed. More and more survivors stepped forward to detail their experiences at the hands of Nassar, a former national team doctor. The United States Olympic Committee began the process of stripping USA Gymnastics of its status as the national governing body. One of the U.S. Olympic movement’s marquee programs was rudderless and fighting for its survival.

“I was frankly very, very disappointed in terms of where the sport and the organization had gotten to,” Leung said.

So disappointed that she felt compelled to come home.

USA Gymnastics hired Leung as its new president and chief executive officer on Tuesday, a job she accepted in an effort to help the organization and the sport find a way forward.

“I have bled, sweated and cried alongside my teammates as well as other team members and other gymnasts,” Leung said Tuesday. “And it really broke my heart to see where the sport was. We can do better for the sport. … Our gymnasts deserve better.”

The 45-year-old Leung, who will begin her new position on March 8, competed as a member of a U.S. junior national training team and represented the U.S. in the 1988 Junior Pan American Games. She helped Michigan win four Big Ten titles during her college career and served as a volunteer assistant gymnastics coach while earning two master’s degrees at the University of Massachusetts. Her professional stops include stints at USA Basketball and the NBA.

Now she returns to the sport she started in at age 7, hoping to prevent USA Gymnastics from being decertified by the USOC.

USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December in an effort to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces in courts across the country from athletes who blame the group for failing to supervise Nassar, a team doctor accused of molesting them.

The 55-year-old Nassar worked at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for decades. He is serving an effective life sentence for child porn possession and molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

Leung said she has already spoken to USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland and that “both sides are committed to working closely to resolve the decertification request.”

“We remain hopeful, that USA Gym will be the (national governing body) going forward,” Leung said.

Hirshland called Leung “an accomplished professional” in a statement and expressed optimism about the direction of the organization under Leung’s leadership.

“I’m very hopeful that Li Li’s combination of experience and desire to lead will be a positive force for change in the lives of gymnasts all over the country,” Hirshland said.

Leung is the fourth person to hold the position of president and CEO in the last two years. Steve Penny resigned under pressure in March 2017. His replacement, Kerry Perry, lasted less than a year when she stepped down under heavy scrutiny from the USOC last September.

The organization then turned to former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono on an interim basis last October, but she resigned after just four days, saying she felt her affiliation would be a “liability” after a social media post by Bono criticizing Nike and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick drew widespread scrutiny within the gymnastics community.

Leung acknowledged she is well aware of the churn at the top but added, “I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t think I could have been successful in it.”

USA Gymnastics surveyed more than 200 members of the gymnastics community during the process, including current or former athletes, coaches, club owners and judges. Board chair Kathryn Carson said Leung “has the passion, the personal commitment and the resilience to lead USA Gymnastics at this juncture.”

Leung’s to-do list includes what she called “fair and equitable resolution” with Nassar survivors so “they can work with us to make the fundamental changes that are necessary.” USA Gymnastics has been criticized over the last two years for its tone-deaf approach.

Olympic champion Simone Biles, herself a Nassar victim, openly challenged Perry’s inability to articulate a path toward reconciliation before the national championships last August. Less than a month later, Perry was out of a job.

John Manly, a California-based attorney representing dozens of athletes suing USA Gymnastics, dismissed Leung’s hire as “business as usual.” Manly called Leung “an insider” and said survivors were “ignored” after asking to be part of the process.

“I think the good thing about it is it gives survivors and their families absolute clarity about what needs to happen to USA Gymnastics is that it needs to go away and be replaced because they’re incapable of reforming themselves,” Manly said.

Leung said her focus will be on helping foster a culture focused on athlete health and safety. When an independent report released in December detailed a pattern of negligence that allowed Nassar’s behavior to run unchecked for so long, Leung said she empathized with its details of “having gymnasts suffer silently, sacrifice their childhood, competing on broken bones.”

She plans to keep that perspective in mind as USA Gymnastics attempts to forge ahead.

“Judge us on our response,” she said. “Judge us on our actions going forward. We will learn from the past and look to the future to heal and rebuild.”

Sports – TIME

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REI Chief Executive Jerry Stritzke Resigns After Investigation into Undisclosed Relationship

The chief executive and president of Recreational Equipment, Inc., Jerry Stritzke, abruptly resigned Tuesday, REI announced in a statement. The company’s board accepted Stritzke’s resignation “following an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding a personal and consensual relationship between the REI CEO and the leader of another organization in the outdoor industry.” The investigation, which found no evidence of financial misconduct, was conducted by an external law firm and overseen by REI’s board of directors.

The company announced that Eric Artz, REI’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, will take on the role of interim CEO effective immediately. In an open letter to REI employees, REI board chair Steve Hooper praised Stritzke’s drive and innovative contributions to the company since taking over as president in October 2013. “Jerry has been an excellent CEO for REI and together, all of you have delivered outstanding results for the co-op during remarkably challenging times in retail,” Hooper wrote, adding, “The co-op is stronger today than when Jerry joined.”

Kent, Wash.-based REI was founded in 1938, an early pioneer in outdoor retail that now has 147 stores in 36 states. The company has been repeatedly ranked by Fortune as a best place to work, and measures such as REI’s Black Friday closures and million-dollar investments in initiatives that demonstrate the relationship between being outdoors and good health are often cited as evidence of its progressive workplace culture at the member-owned cooperative.

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Andy Gruenberg, Veteran Film Executive, Dies at 68

Veteran film executive Andy Gruenberg, who most recently oversaw theatrical distribution at Netflix, died suddenly on Friday. He was 68. Gruenberg worked on classic films like “Ghostbusters,” “Karate Kid” and “Silverado” while at Columbia Pictures in the 80s and 90s. He then moved to MGM where he served as exec VP of distribution. There he […]

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Tonie Leatherberry Is the New Chair of the Executive Leadership Council

Tonie Leatherberry, who is a principal at Deloitte & Touche L.L.P., and president of the Deloitte Foundation, has been named the new chair of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC).

“After serving on The ELC board for several years and developing programs such as The ELC CEO Academy, I am honored to have the opportunity to continue my service and work with ELC members to expand The ELC’s reach and influence,” stated Leatherberry in a press release. “Given my passion for leadership development and understanding the critical need to help prepare the next generation of black and women of color C-suite executives, I am proud of the work we’ve done together. I look forward to playing a larger role in helping advance the impact of The ELC and its programs on industry, the marketplace, our communities, and beyond.”

The ELC is an organization dedicated to creating a pipeline of black corporate executives and leaders. Its members include some of the most preeminent black CEOS, senior executives, and board members of Fortune 1000 and other prestigious companies.

Leatherberry has been with Deloitte for over 25 years. As a principal in Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory practice, she is responsible for supporting key accounts across Strategy, Enterprise Risk, Human Capital and Technology services. She has also served on Deloitte Consulting’s Board of Directors and as Deloitte Consulting’s Chief Inclusion Officer and serves on several advisory boards, including Widener University Board of Trustees, Boston University College of Engineering Advisory Committee, and Boston University Board of Overseers.

“Through her experience working across Deloitte and with multiple client organizations, Tonie understands what it takes to be an effective leader,” remarked Mike Fucci, Chairman of the Board of Deloitte and Chairman of the Deloitte Foundation. “I have no doubt that she will bring these qualities to her role as ELC chair and will continue to develop a strong pipeline of future leaders. Tonie’s passion for education at the intersection of diversity and helping others succeed to their full capacity has been a driving force of the Deloitte Foundation’s efforts for the past three years. I am so proud of Tonie and I am confident she will excel in this new role.”

She is also slated to speak at this year’s Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, hosting the session, “Are You Board Ready?” where she will provide insight into how black women can find places on corporate boards.

Receiving numerous accolades, most notably as one of the top 25 consultants by Consulting Magazine, she was named by Black Enterprise as one of the Most Powerful Women in Business. Leatherberry has also been recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s “Top 50 Women in Business,” The Network Journal’s annual list of “25 Influential Black Women in Business,” as one of Savoy magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” and one of the “Top 100 under 50 Leader” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

“Tonie has been an enthusiastic and engaged member of The ELC since 2009 and has served on The ELC board of directors for several years,” said Skip Spriggs, president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council in a statement. “Her fellow board directors recognized and rewarded Tonie for her leadership with this appointment. In addition to continuing her support for The ELC’s CEO Academy and our work with the Alliance for Board Diversity, Tonie will lead efforts to increase the visibility and impact of the organization, and its value to our members.”

 

 

 

The post Tonie Leatherberry Is the New Chair of the Executive Leadership Council appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

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Why Did Facebook Fire a Top Executive? Hint: It Had Something to Do With Trump

Palmer Luckey, co-founder of virtual-reality pioneer Oculus, was ousted after his political activity sparked a furor within the social-media giant and Silicon Valley. His firing was one of the earliest political spats of the kind that is now roiling the technology industry.
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