One of industry's top executives is leaving the television business for another industry. Writing in the Los Angeles’ Times Company Town, Joe Flint reports that Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, is exiting the company to become chief executive of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team.
Koonin will run operations for both the basketball franchise and its home court, Philips Arena, Flint reports. Koonin will also receive an ownership stake in the team.
“A well-regarded programming and marketing executive, Koonin has been with Turner for 14 years, rising to the rank of president of Turner Entertainment Networks, whose holdings include TNT, TBS, TruTV and Cartoon Network. TNT has carried NBA games for several years, and Koonin has close ties to both the Hawks and the league,” Flint writes.
The report adds: “Known for his jocularity and down-to-earth persona, Koonin has always been a huge sports fan who often spends his mornings listening to sports radio, particularly the ‘Dan Patrick Show.’”
Koonin said in a statement that his decision to join the team was partly motivated by his Atlanta roots.
"My family has been a part of this city for nearly a century," Koonin said in a statement. “I have watched the excitement and potential of the entire city growing together as our sports teams achieve success. I couldn’t be more excited to join the Hawks organization."
Koonin was head of marketing for Coca-Cola before coming to Turner.