National Basketball Association Chief Marketing Officer Pam El will retire at the end of the year, ending a four-year tenure. The NBA will conduct a search for her replacement, according to a league spokesperson. El will continue to consult with the league on marketing and branding matters.
El joined the NBA after a stint as senior VP of financial brand marketing for Nationwide Insurance. Before that she spent 11 years at State Farm Insurance as marketing VP. The NBA in a press release credited El with playing an integral role in growing the league globally. She led a team that oversees customer data strategy, market research and media planning and buying.
"Pam's contributions to the NBA have been extraordinary," stated Mark Tatum, the NBA's deputy commissioner. "Even before she joined the league in 2014, we benefited greatly from Pam's expertise during her time as head of Marketing for State Farm Insurance, where she established vital partnerships between the NBA and WNBA and the leading U.S.-based insurance company."
El is one of the few African American CMOs in the marketing and ad industries, which have come under criticism for failing to advance people of color. In a study published earlier this year the Association of National Advertisers reported that African Americans held only 3 percent of the top marketing jobs at its 747 member companies.
Before El, the NBA had not had a CMO since the 1990s, when the position was held by Rick Welts. After that, the NBA's top marketer held the title of exec VP-marketing.