Marketing veteran Richie new WNBA president

Veteran marketing executive Laurel J. Richie was hired to lead the WNBA on Thursday, becoming the league's third president as it enters its 15th season.

Richie brings more than three decades of experience in consumer marketing, corporate branding, public relations and corporate management, NBA commissioner David Stern said.

She has worked for Ogilvy and Mather, and served most recently as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Girl Scouts of the USA. She replaces Donna Orender, who resigned in December.

"Laurel combines extraordinary marketing and brand-management skills, with a tremendous enthusiasm to help evolve young women into leaders," Stern said. "She joins the WNBA at such an exciting time in its history and we know her expertise will be key to continuing the growth and success of the league."

Richie was the driving force behind the recent brand revitalization of the Girl Scouts, responsible for communications, publishing, marketing and web-based initiatives.

"I'm looking forward to working with these talented women as they strive to achieve their professional goals both on and off the court," Richie said. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to build upon the successes of the WNBA and help grow this league into a world-class business."

Richie has received the YMCA Black Achiever's Award and Ebony magazine's Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications. She graduated Dartmouth with a degree in policy studies.

Richie follows Orender, who stepped down after nearly six years to start a marketing and media strategy company. NBA vice president Chris Granger assumed the job on an interim basis.

Val Ackerman was the WNBA's first president, hired in 1996 — a year before the league began play.

Richie will begin her duties on May 16. The season begins in June.