Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks announced two new hires to their executive leadership team. Tarsha LaCour and Cythia Wales were brought in under the leadership of interim CEO Cynthia Marshall. LaCour takes the role of Senior Vice President of Human Resources while Wales will serve as Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, a newly created position.
LaCour is the former Director and HR Business Partner at AT&T. A press release from the Mavericks says that Wales has “significant experience in leading teams and establishing ethics and compliance programs.” She also joins the team from AT&T, where Marshall was formerly employed.
News of the hires was initially reported by The Dallas Morning News on March 20.
The Mavericks also announced the launch of a 100-Day Plan in order to address and improve the culture of the organization.
This all stems from the fallout of a Sports Illustrated report in February detailing a “corrosive” workplace and office culture. SI’s report centered on the physical assault by a Mavs.com employee on two women, one of whom was also a Mavericks employee. He plead guilty to domestic abuse in one instance that took place at the Mavs offices but was retained as an employee. The rest of the report consists of multiple allegations sexual harassment by longtime CEO Tederma Ussery. Ussery denies these claims but was fired from Under Armour, where he worked after leaving the Mavericks, for similar allegations against him.
Since the initial report, more stories about the culture of the workplace have come to light. One of the sources for the SI investigation, Melissa Weishaupt, came forward to lend her name to the allegations rather than remain anonymous. Deadspin also reported in more detail aspects of the Mavs’ workplace culture.
Sandwiched between all of this was a story by Willamette Week reporting that Mavs owner Mark Cuban was investigated by police in Portland, Oregon for sexual assault in 2011. While no charges were filed and Cuban was not implicated in SI’s reporting, the seven-year-old investigation again painted the Mavericks in an unfavorable light.
After the SI report, the organization and the NBA brought in an outside law firm investigate the claims. They also set up an anonymous hotline for employees to call to report workplace misconduct. Then the Mavericks hired Marshall, who came in talking the talk right from the start.
“Our vision is that by 2019, the Dallas Mavericks organization will be setting the NBA standard for inclusion and diversity,” said Marshall at her introductory press conference in March. “Our immediate key focus areas include modeling a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior, developing a women’s agenda, institutionalizing an inclusive and supportive culture and developing a best-in-class employee complaint process and operations infrastructure.”
If you believe what Marshall is saying, the Mavericks are doing everything they can to overhaul a toxic culture that was allowed to persist for decades. Hopefully, the hiring of LaCour and Wales is another step in the right direction. The future only holds more changes for the organization.