Friday, September 21, 2007

NBA Steals Exec Who Knows How To Play Ball In China

"Like many Chinese, Timothy Chen, Microsoft's top man in China, is captivated by NBA basketball. Now he’s making it his livelihood.

Chen on Wednesday resigned from Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) to become CEO of the U.S. basketball league's new subsidiary in China, NBA China, a year after the NBA first dispatched a head hunter to approach him. He leaves behind a career built around the tech industry and a four-year tenure as the most successful leader in Microsoft's 15-year history in China.

The 44-year-old Chen will oversee the NBA’s largest overseas market with an estimated 300 million basketball fans, one that has contributed as much as 20% of the traffic on its Web site, The NBA is seeking to sell a 5% stake in its new China subsidiary to Chinese investors with an eye toward an initial public offering, and another 5% stake to an as yet unnamed U.S. media company."

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