Cathy Engelbert named WNBA Commissioner
Cathy Engelbert, current CEO of Deloitte and the first woman ever to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the US, has been appointed Commissioner of the WNBA, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced today.
She will join the WNBA on July 17 and report to Silver, once her four-year term as CEO with Deloitte concludes. The WNBA’s 23rd season tips off on May 24.
“Cathy is a world-class business leader with a deep connection to women’s basketball, which makes her the ideal person to lead the WNBA into its next phase of growth,” said Silver. “The WNBA will benefit significantly from her more than 30 years of business and operational experience including revenue generation, sharp entrepreneurial instincts and proven management abilities.”
Engelbert was elected CEO by Deloitte’s partners in 2015, where she led one of the largest professional services organisations in the US with more than 100,000 professionals. Over the course of her tenure, she has led a large transformation across the business by moving the firm towards emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, robotics and cloud, including securing ecosystem partnerships with large technology companies, and executing digital acquisitions. During her tenure, revenues grew over 30%, and Engelbert drove a people-first agenda, including implementing a holistic well-being culture through programs like Deloitte’s 16-week family leave policy.
“It is an absolute privilege to be joining the WNBA at such an exciting and important time in its history,” said Engelbert. “I see tremendous opportunity to bolster visibility for the sport of women’s basketball, empower the players, and enhance fan engagement. I look forward to using my business expertise and passion for basketball to promote women in the game and beyond, and to working with the teams and world-class athletes to help grow this league into a thriving business.”
Engelbert received a BS in accounting from Lehigh University and is a certified public accountant licensed in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. During her time at Lehigh, Engelbert was a member of the university’s basketball and lacrosse teams and served as a senior captain for both teams. On the court, she played for former Lehigh coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw. Engelbert’s father, Kurt, played for Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay at Saint Joseph’s University and was drafted in 1957 by the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
As a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion, Engelbert is the first woman to serve as chair of the Catalyst Board, a global non-profit organisation that promotes inclusive workplaces for women, and also was the first woman chair of the Center for Audit Quality Governing Board. Engelbert has been listed as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women for the last four years. She is ranked on Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards honouring the 100 Highest-Rated CEOs, and among Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York. Engelbert has also been recognised as one of Working Mother magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Moms and one of Fast Company magazine’s Most Productive People.