Orender will assume new position in April

Updated: February 15, 2005, 3:58 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- PGA Tour executive Donna Orender will replace Val Ackerman as WNBA president.

Ackerman, the WNBA's only president, said in October she was resigning, and NBA commissioner David Stern quickly focused on Orender.

Orender, a senior vice president with the tour, will take over in April, a month before the season opens.

"I am thrilled to return to the sport of basketball, which has taught me so much and has assisted me in developing the skills necessary to succeed in the world of business," she said Tuesday.

An All-American at Queens College and an All-Star in the WBL, Orender has spent the last 17 years with the PGA Tour, where she oversaw worldwide management of the tour's television and production, advertising, brand management and integration. Orender also was responsible for the tour's new media and Internet business.

"She combines a background, knowledge, and passion for the sport of basketball with a record of demonstrated expertise and success in every aspect of the business of sports: television, marketing, sponsorship and new media," Stern said.

Orender has been consulting with Ackerman during the transition, and said there is no pressing issue that needs to be addressed.

"I think it's very fortunate to walk into the WNBA at this time," Orender said. "They have demonstrated eight solid years of development, and I'll get a chance to learn how they got there and help develop a strategy of how to grow upon that. When you enter a new situation, it behooves you to take a step back ... learn everything you can before saying, 'Hey, I want to do this.' "

Orender joins a 14-team league in which the Chicago franchise will be the WNBA's first addition since 2002. San Antonio and Connecticut began play in 2003, but each moved from a previous location.

"As the WNBA enters its record-setting ninth season,'' Stern said, "I am confident that we have found the ideal executive to lead it through growth, expansion and profitability while maintaining its iconic status in redefining what is possible for young women who wish to pursue careers in professional team sports."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press