Lisa Borders is the new WNBA President, the league announced Wednesday.
Borders, who helped bring the Dream to Atlanta in 2008 as the city’s vice mayor, will become the league’s fourth president. The move comes three months after former president Laurel J. Richie stepped down.
“As a proven executive with a passion for the WNBA and the game of basketball, Lisa is the right leader at a pivotal time in the league’s history,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “She will be responsible for spearheading our efforts to strengthen the WNBA and accelerate its growth.”
Borders inherits a league that will begin its 20th season in May. Despite its exciting playoffs, the WNBA had its lowest average attendance in league history during the regular season. Some of that was due to San Antonio moving arenas while its normal home court was being renovated and Tulsa announcing it was moving to Dallas in 2016.
“The WNBA has reached a significant milestone, and I feel privileged to be joining the league at such an exciting time,” Borders said a statement. “I have always been a staunch supporter of this league and its tremendous athletes. I am impressed by their talent and inspired by their passion. The athleticism of the game and the sportsmanship exhibited between teams offers clear evidence of our ability to grow women’s basketball.”
The WNBA announced last month that it was making significant changes to its schedule and playoffs. The league will now take the top eight teams into the postseason regardless of their conference affiliation. The top two seeds will get byes to the semifinals. The schedule now will be more balanced, with each team playing three times and one matchup happening four times.
Like her predecessor, Borders has no managerial experience in sports. She ran for mayor of Atlanta in 2009 but didn’t receive enough votes to advance to a runoff election. For the last few years, she has been chairwoman of the Coca-Cola Foundation. The NBA ended a 28-year relationship with Coke last year, starting up a partnership with Pepsi.
Before joining Coke, Borders had also served as president of Atlanta’s city council and as the city’s vice-mayor. She had also been president of Grady Health Foundation, the fundraising division of Grady Health System.
Borders will start her new job on March 21.