USA Gymnastics hires NBA exec Li Li Leung as new CEO

(AP) – USA Gymnastics is turning to NBA executive Li Li Leung to help turn the embattled program around.

The organization named Leung as its new president and chief executive officer on Tuesday as it fights to retain its status as the national governing body for the sport after the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Leung served as vice president of global partnerships for the NBA. She arrives as USA Gymnastics attempts to fend off decertification from the United States Olympic Committee.

USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December in an effort to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces in courts across the country from athletes who blame the group for failing to supervise Nassar, a team doctor accused of molesting them.

The 55-year-old Nassar worked at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for decades. He is serving an effective life sentence for child porn possession and molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

Leung is the fourth person to hold the position of president and CEO in the last two years. Steve Penny resigned under pressure in March 2017. His replacement, Kerry Perry, lasted less than a year when she stepped down under heavy scrutiny from the USOC last September.

The organization then turned to former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono on an interim basis last October, but she resigned after just four days, saying she felt her affiliation with the embattled organization would be a “liability” after a social media post by Bono criticizing Nike and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick drew widespread scrutiny within the gymnastics community.

Leung, a former collegiate gymnast at the University of Michigan, said she has already spoken to USOC CEO Sarah Hirschland and that “both sides are committed to working closely to resolve the decertification request.”

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