Victor Williams, the inaugural CEO of NBA Africa, is set to leave his position by the end of December, marking a significant shift in the leadership of the National Basketball Association’s African division.
Bloomberg reports that Williams, who has been at the helm since August 2020, played a crucial role in expanding the NBA’s footprint across the continent.
Williams, a former executive at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Standard Bank Group Ltd, was instrumental in establishing the Africa Basketball League, the NBA’s first professional league outside the United States. His tenure also saw a landmark 2021 deal that valued NBA Africa at $1 billion, attracting notable investors including former US President Barack Obama.
The departure of Williams comes as the latest in a series of senior exits from NBA Africa. This includes Anthony Garstang, Vice President of Business Development, who left in August, and George Land, Senior Vice President of Business Strategy, slated for retirement in December.
Speaking on Williams’ contributions, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum highlighted the solid foundation Williams established for scaling the NBA’s business in Africa. “Through Victor’s efforts, we have established a solid foundation for scaling our business in Africa going forward,” Tatum said.
In his statement, Williams expressed his commitment to blending his professional experience with his passion for basketball. “It allows me to blend my professional experience building businesses in Africa with my passion for the sport of basketball,” Williams remarked, underscoring his dedication to growing basketball’s commercial and social impact in Africa and on the global stage.
Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, had previously emphasized the importance of Williams’ role in expanding basketball across Africa. “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 said during Williams’ appointment.
Williams is leaving to pursue other business interests, as stated in the NBA’s announcement. Meanwhile, NBA Africa, with offices in Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa, and a new one opening in Kenya, continues its expansion efforts. The NBA spokesperson declined to comment on the recent leadership changes.
As the NBA navigates these transitions, the impact of Williams’ leadership in setting the stage for the sport’s growth in Africa remains a key highlight of his tenure. The search for his successor and the future direction of NBA Africa are now points of keen interest in the sports and business communities.