NBA Steps Far Outside Sport to Fill Chief-Marketer Post

League Plucks Gary Zarr From American Museum of Natural History

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NEW YORK ( -- LeBron James and Vince Carter don't even make leaps this big.
Gary Zarr
Gary Zarr

The National Basketball Association has finally filled its vacant chief-marketer post by going well outside the world of sports, selecting someone who most recently dealt with dinosaurs to now market some of the youngest, freshest talent in the world.

The league has hired Gary Zarr as exec VP-marketing and communications, plucking him from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where was senior VP-communications and business development.

Domestic and international
Mr. Zarr will be responsible for all of the league's domestic and international marketing and communications functions. He will report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Adam Silver. Carol Albert, senior VP-marketing; Brian McIntyre, senior VP-basketball communications; and Mike Bass, senior VP-marketing communications, will all report to Mr. Zarr.

"Gary is a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience in communications, marketing and business development," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. "As the NBA's business expands globally and digitally ... it is increasingly important for us to speak to diverse audiences and coordinate our marketing and messaging. A communicator and marketer with Gary's proven track record is an enormously valuable and essential addition."

At the AMNH, Mr. Zarr has been responsible for internal and external communications, marketing, branding and numerous business areas including retail and licensing operations, public programs, publishing and digital media.

Vacant since August
In an earlier interview, Mr. Stern told Advertising Age that while he maintains a strong presence on the marketing side, he had every intention of filling the position left vacant when Greg Economou resigned in August after only four months on the job to become the CMO of the league's Charlotte Bobcats franchise.

Mr. Zarr, 53, assumes his new role on March 12.

Prior to joining the AMNH in January 1999, Mr. Zarr was exec VP-assistant to the president at public-relations firm Howard Rubenstein Associates.
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