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Hawks name Koonin as CEO

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The Atlanta Hawks announced Sunday night that former Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin is joining the team’s ownership group as chief executive officer.

Koonin will oversee all business operations and represent ownership at NBA functions.

Koonin was with Turner for 14 years. In his most recent role, he led the division that included TNT, TBS, TruTV and Turner Classic Movies. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade as a marketing executive at Coca-Cola.

“Steve Koonin’s reputation as a game changer in both marketing and media makes him the ideal leader to usher the Atlanta Hawks into a new era,” majority owner Bruce Levenson said in a statement. “He has created a legacy as an expert in sports marketing, television, branding and digital media.”

The Hawks made the playoffs for the seventh straight season but perennially rank among the worst teams in attendance. They are hoping Koonin can help change that with his expertise in marketing.

“My family has been a part of this city for nearly a century,” Koonin said in a statement. “We have a lot of work to do, but I believe my professional experience, my passion for this team and the NBA, as well as the Hawks’ great existing executive talent … make this organization’s future very bright.”

The Hawks (37-43) are currently in the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with two games to go. They lead the New York Knicks by two games. However, they are looking to rebuild. Center Al Horford and point guard Jeff Teague are the only players who have been on the team longer than two years.

“I have known Steve for more than two decades and based both on firsthand experience and his stellar record of accomplishments, he is one of the very best executives and creative minds in the entertainment industry,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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