NBA appoints Sierra Leonean-American, Victor Williams, Africa CEO

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Newly appointed NBA Africa CEO, Victor Williams
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National Basketball Association appoints Sierra Leona-American, Victor Williams, Africa CEO

National Basketball Association (NBA) Monday named Victor Williams as the Chief Executive Officer of NBA Africa, effective August 17.

Announcing the new appointment, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, described Williams as an accomplished investment banking executive with extensive experience growing businesses across the United States of America and Africa.

CEO NBA Africa would be based in the league’s Johannesburg office and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Tatum.

In this newly-created role, Williams would oversee the league’s basketball and business development initiatives in Africa and would be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball and NBA across the continent through grassroots development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and more.

“Adding an executive of Victor’s caliber and experience is an important step in our continued efforts to grow basketball across the continent.

“We look forward to Victor leading NBA Africa’s operations and helping to accelerate the use of sports as an economic engine across Africa,” Silver added.

Commenting on his appointment, Williams said: “Becoming CEO of NBA Africa is a compelling opportunity to join the NBA – a widely-respected and admired, globally-oriented sports enterprise.

“It allows me to blend my professional experience building businesses in Africa with my passion for the sport of basketball.

“I look forward to working with our colleagues in Johannesburg and Dakar to help grow basketball’s commercial and social impact in Africa and on the world stage.”

In the last five years, Williams had served as the Executive Head of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Africa Regions for Standard Bank Group, where he oversaw the strategy, execution and financial performance for Standard Bank’s business with corporate, sovereign and institutional investor clients in 19 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

In this pan-continental role, Williams was responsible for growing a wide range of business lines across Africa, including global markets, investment banking and transactional products and services, and helped lead Standard Bank’s expansion into Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Williams joined Standard Bank in 2011 as Head of Corporate and Investment Banking for East Africa and subsequently led Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment banking business in Nigeria.

Previously, he worked at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was a Managing Director focused on mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he executed more than $5 billion in merger and acquisition transactions and advised senior executives and boards of directors of corporate and private equity firms on mergers, divestitures, acquisitions, joint ventures, recapitalisations and corporate defense.

Prior to Wells Fargo Securities, Williams was Vice President of Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where he provided strategic guidance to Fortune 500 companies in all aspects of merger and financing analysis and execution.

Williams, a dual citizen of Sierra Leone and the USA, holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and bachelor’s degrees in applied math and economics from Brown University.

He is a member of Harvard Business School’s Africa Advisory Board and has also served on the boards of publicly-listed companies and non-profit organisations in the USA, Nigeria and Kenya.

Idowu Sowunmi