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
"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