Nine days before the start of the 2019 WNBA season, the league finally hired a commissioner. Cathy Engelbert, the former CEO of Deloitte, will be at the helm of the WNBA in its 23rd season.
This is the first time the WNBA has had a commissioner, and she will report directly to Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner. Previously, the leader of the WNBA was termed a ‘president’. Lisa Borders, the fourth president of the WNBA, stepped down in October, and the league had been searching for a replacement while NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum served as acting president in the interim.
Engelbert has spent 33 years at Deloitte, where she rose to become the first-ever female CEO of one of the industry’s Big Four. She is also the CEO of Catalyst, a global nonprofit with the mission of “building workplaces that work for women”. Her experience fighting for inclusion and diversity make her a natural fit for the WNBA.
Engelbert also played college basketball at Lehigh, where she was coached by Muffet McGraw. McGraw made headlines at the Final Four earlier this year when she stumped for more women in leadership positions and said she would never hire another man to coach on her staff. She gave a ringing endorsement of Engelbert’s candidacy to ESPN.