Li Li Leung Is Appointed President and CEO of USA Gymnastics
Former Gymnast, NBA Executive to Lead 209,000+-member organization
INDIANAPOLIS, February 19, 2019 – USA Gymnastics today announced that Li Li Leung has been appointed president and chief executive officer following an extensive search conducted by the Board of Directors, which included surveying a wide range of members in the gymnastics community on the best qualifications and attributes for a candidate to be successful.
“Li Li’s unique combination of business skills, management experience and passion for gymnastics make her perfectly suited to lead our organization at this important time in our history,” said Kathryn Carson, USA Gymnastics Board chair. “She brings strong leadership, organizational and communication skills from her over two-decade professional career in sports business and management. She also has deep roots in gymnastics, having competed at a high level before moving to collegiate gymnastics. We are thrilled to have Li Li as our next president and CEO, and the Board looks forward to supporting Li Li as she delivers her vision to transform and strengthen our organization and culture.”
Leung most recently served as a vice president at the National Basketball Association (NBA), where she has been responsible for building, leading, negotiating and managing key partner relationships around the world. She has also been involved with USA Basketball, the sport’s U.S. national governing body. Previously, she was a managing director at the global sports management firm Helios Partners, where she built from the ground up and managed their China and London offices. She also oversaw the firm’s global expansion strategy in emerging markets in Europe and Asia Pacific regions.
“I am honored to be the next CEO of USA Gymnastics and to lead an organization that plays an important role in a sport that I care deeply about and had so much positive influence on my life,” said Leung. “Like everyone, I was upset and angry to learn about the abuse and the institutions that let the athletes down. I admire the courage and strength of the survivors, and I will make it a priority to see that their claims are resolved. I look forward to collaborating with the entire gymnastics community to create further change going forward, which requires that we implement important initiatives to strengthen athlete health and safety and build a clear and inclusive plan for the future. For me, this is much more than a job: it is a personal calling, for which I stand ready to answer.”
Leung began her gymnastics career at age 7. She competed in many USA Gymnastics events, was member of a U.S. junior national training team and represented the U.S. in the 1988 Junior Pan American Games. She was a member of the University of Michigan gymnastics team, which won several Big 10 titles and competed in the NCAA Championships during her four years on the team. She was a volunteer assistant gymnastics coach while earning two master’s degrees at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
“Li Li’s dedication and strong interpersonal and management skills enable her to solve complex business issues and build collaborative partner relationships,” said Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president, global partnerships, at the NBA. “We appreciate her many contributions to the NBA and are confident that she will continue her success as CEO of USA Gymnastics.”
After wrapping up at the NBA and fulfilling other planned commitments, Leung will assume her role as CEO on March 8 and will be based at the USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in psychology, at Michigan. Leung earned both of her advanced degrees – Master of Science in sports management and Master of Business Administration – at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. The organization is committed to creating a culture that encourages and supports its athletes and focuses on the safety and well-being of their athletes, the organization’s highest priority. USA Gymnastics has already taken specific, concrete steps to strengthen its safe sport policies and procedures. The organization’s disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and gymnastics for all (formerly known as group gymnastics). For more complete information, log on to usagym.org.
Li Li Leung
President and CEO
Li Li Leung has described her appointment as president and CEO of USA Gymnastics as coming full circle from her first participation at age 7 in the sport that she loves and helped make her who she is today: a highly successful and experienced executive.
She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., three minutes before her twin sister. The sisters began training near their home in Ridgewood, N.J., and their parents, both university professors, saw their success, passion and joy for gymnastics. And like others in the sport, they moved the family to Parsippany, N.J., to be close to North Stars Gymnastics Academy, a training facility that would help them advance in the sport.
Li Li competed in many USA Gymnastics events, was member of a U.S. junior national training team and represented the U.S. in the 1988 Junior Pan American Games. She enjoyed success at the University of Michigan, earning a full, four-year scholarship and Academic All Big 10 - Athlete honors as a member of the gymnastics team that won several Big 10 titles. She also competed in the NCAA Championships during her four years on the team. Li Li graduated with a B.A.in psychology.
After graduation, she worked as a program manager for Michigan’s Alumni Association and Athletic Department from 1997-2001. She went on to earn her MBA and Master of Science in sport management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she was a volunteer assistant coach with the gymnastics team.
Because of her interest in the Olympics, she joined global sports management firm Helios Partners, where she founded, built and managed the China office, starting 2005 in anticipation of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. She then started the firm’s London office, where she became senior vice president and managing director. While in both Beijing and London, Li Li negotiated agreements and developed and managed initiatives on behalf of about a dozen partners for the Olympic games.
After working for Helios for nearly nine years, she became a vice president at the National Basketball Association (NBA). At the NBA, Li Li was responsible for leading, negotiating, and managing international partner relationships, as well as developing collaborative relationships in complex settings. Her biggest focus was managing the league’s global priority partners. In addition, she also worked with USA Basketball, the sport’s national governing body.
Li Li is looking forward to settling into life in Indianapolis with her husband and making a meaningful impact at USA Gymnastics.
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