The Atlanta Hawks have named Steve Koonin as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), it was announced today. In his role as CEO, Koonin will oversee all business, financial and strategic operations of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. He will also acquire an equity position within the ownership group, and represent the owners as the head of the organization. A nationally respected entertainment and marketing veteran, Koonin’s 28-year track record of working with the National Basketball Association (NBA), along with his marketing expertise and leadership abilities, will help usher in a new era of Atlanta Hawks basketball.
“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. He has created a legacy as an expert in sports marketing, television, branding and digital media,” said Hawks Majority Owner Bruce Levenson. “The Hawks are thrilled that Steve is joining the ownership group as both our CEO and a partner.”
“I have known Steve for more than two decades and based both on first-hand experience and his stellar record of accomplishments, he is one of the very best executives and creative minds in the entertainment industry,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “I am thrilled that he is joining the Hawks and bringing his expertise and passion for the game to the team and its fans.”
Steve joins the Hawks following a 14-year stint with Turner Entertainment Networks, where he most recently served as the division’s president. As president, he oversaw programming, marketing, scheduling, strategy and operations for top-rated networks TNT, TBS, TruTV, and Turner Classic Movies. Under his watch, the aforementioned networks have won numerous Emmy Awards and Peabody Awards, as well as established ratings records and critical acclaim. Koonin has been instrumental in the programming and media rights acquisition processes around the NBA and NCAA, and has helped build strong brand franchises in “Inside the NBA” and “NBA on TNT”. Prior to Turner, Koonin was at the helm of presence marketing and worldwide advertising at The Coca-Cola Company, where he spent over a decade. While serving as Coca-Cola’s vice president of sports and entertainment marketing, he was named Sports Executive of the Year by Sports Business Journal.
“I have a deep commitment to Atlanta - my family has been a part of this city for nearly a century. I have watched the excitement and potential of the entire city growing together as our sports teams achieve success,” said Koonin. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the Hawks organization. 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, including our President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry and President of Business Operations for the Hawks and Philips Arena President Bob Williams, make this organization’s future very bright.”
A lifelong resident of Atlanta, Koonin has given a great deal back to his native city through his civic involvement. Along with his professional successes, Steve has positively impacted many Atlanta organizations important not only to the Atlanta Hawks, but also the team’s fans, business partners, and community. Koonin serves on the boards of Emory Healthcare, the Georgia Aquarium, the Fox Theatre and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He is a trustee of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. He attended the University of Georgia, where he and his wife, Eydie, recently established the Koonin Scholars Fund at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The fund will provide scholarships for Grady students preparing for careers in the creative industries and media.