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People on the move: Forward Associates, NBA and more

Images: Cindy Hook/NBA Africa/Forward Associates

Venue specialist Forward Associates has appointed industry expert Natasha Thiebaut (pictured right) as its new chief commercial officer.

Thiebaut has over 25 years of experience in the venue business having developed premium sales programmes and commercial strategy for leading venues such as Wembley Stadium, the Maracana and Lusail Stadium.

She previously served as vice-president of IMG’s stadium division, where she secured, managed and sold commercial rights for a host of venues and helped create the products and sales operations for Club Wembley.

Thiebaut has also worked for clubs such as Galatasaray, FC Porto and Leinster Rugby, and on major events such as the UEFA European Championship. She also managed sponsorship programmes for the English FA and the Football Association of Ireland.

Roy Westwood, founder of Forward Associates, said: “I have known Natasha for more than two decades and always admired her vision and attention to detail. Demand for our sales and marketing services is rising. Natasha’s arrival is a direct response to this demand and will strengthen our senior leadership team in what has become a critical discipline.”

Thiebaut added: “Roy and I have a shared vision of how to make the venue industry more successful and to drive revenue for our clients by improving the customer experience. Forward Associates have a brilliant team who have shaped the industry. They have some really exciting projects in the pipeline. I’m looking forward to helping to grow this further.”

Thiebaut’s appointment comes after Forward Associates recently named Phil Pearlman as project manager in the UK and USA.

Cindy Hook (pictured left), a US businesswoman who formerly served as chief executive of Deloitte Asia Pacific, has been appointed chief executive of the organising committee for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane, Australia.

Hook, who will officially take up the role in mid-February, said her main priority will be to ensure the Games are cost-neutral.

Check out our story from last week for full details.

SportAccord, the not-for-profit global sport business event organisation, has confirmed Martin Gibbs as its new permanent managing director.

Gibbs’ appointment was one of several concrete steps taken by SportAccord since the dissolution of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) was approved by members in November.

Ernst & Young is currently handling GAISF’s liquidation. The ongoing integration of GAISF’s various activities, responsibilities and staff members into SportAccord is on track, with the latter working on terms of reference for a new membership commission.

Mohamed Abdel-Motaleb Soliman (pictured centre) has been named vice-president of NBA Africa and head of NBA Egypt, with the basketball league set to open a new office in the country in early 2023.

Soliman most recently served as vice-president of the Egyptian Basketball Federation and deputy secretary general of the Egyptian Olympic Committee. He will report to NBA Africa chief executive Victor Williams and lead the league’s new office, which will be located in Cairo.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced that Charlie Baker, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will assume the role of president at the organisation in March 2023.

Baker, whose term as Governor ends on January 5, will replace Mark Emmert as NCAA president. Emmert announced in May that he would be stepping down as president of the NCAA.

Baker has been appointed following a national search process, which was led by a subcommittee of the NCAA board of governors and TurnkeyZRG.

Do you have news of an appointment that we should know about? Get in touch by emailing news.editor@thestadiumbusiness.com and we’ll include it in our next round-up.