POSTED: Apr 13, 2014 8:49 PM ET
ATLANTA — Steven Koonin, the longtime president of Turner Entertainment Networks, is leaving to become CEO and a part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, the team announced Sunday.
"It is no secret that I have a passionate love of sports, particularly for our local teams," Koonin said in a statement. "In the past few months, I was invited to become an investor in the Atlanta Hawks."
Koonin, who had to be approved by NBA owners, is joining a Hawks ownership group headed by Bruce Levenson.
"During our investor conversations, it became quickly apparent that the Hawks needed local leadership as well as a face and voice for the franchise," Koonin said. "I have accepted the position of CEO and Part-Owner of the Atlanta Hawks. The job is consistent with my desire to make a difference in my community and finish my career in Atlanta."
The Hawks on Saturday clinched their seventh straight playoff berth but they have struggled with fan support, ranking 28th in attendance this season among the NBA's 30 teams.
As president of Turner Entertainment since 2000, Koonin oversaw TNT, TBS and TruTV. A prominent Atlanta business leader, he also spent 14 years at Coca-Cola.