by Moxye Staff

The Dallas Mavericks has name former AT&T executive Cynthia Marshall their interim CEO at a press conference on Monday in a direct response to the franchise’s sexual assault and domestic violence allegations.

Marshall, who retired last year, most recently served as the telecom company’s vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer.

When Marshall was named AT&T’s chief diversity officer in 2015, she said, “I’m proud to play a role in AT&T’s diversity efforts. For decades, a commitment to diversity and inclusion has informed our beliefs, strategies, practices and success. Our inclusive culture runs deep – and impacts every employee every day – and it’s a privilege to build on such a rich tradition.”

The move comes just a week after a Sport Illustrated article shed light on a bizarre culture of alleged sexual harassment that has festered in the business operations of the NBA franchise, dating back to before the time that owner Mark Cuban purchased the team.

The Mavericks are accused of protecting two former employees — one with a history of domestic violence, the other an ex-CEO facing allegations of rampant sexual harassment — according to a scathing Sports Illustrated story published last week.

Terdema Ussery was a long-time Mavs executive and was accused by at least two women of sexually harassing them for years. He left the team in 2015. Earl K. Sneed, a former writer for the Mavericks’ website, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his then-girlfriend and eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2012, according to the report. Sneed was fired last week.

“I’m not saying that I am coming here to be the savior of the world,” Marshall said at a Monday press conference. “Transformation is what I do, it takes a team and a village and we’ll get this done.”

Marshall, a California native, begins work in an immediate capacity, charged with moving the organization through an investigation that will pursue any and all previous and current claims by employees.

She is a graduate of Cal-Berkeley and brings three decades of human resources work into the interim position.

Marshall used the news conference to assert her marching orders from Cuban by intercepting a question directed at the Mavericks owner on how the arrangement would work between the two.

“I’ll take that,” she said. “And that should give you a clue right there.

“I was getting ready to share with Mark, a 2-pager I worked on this weekend that lays out our vision, our values and our top priorities and I wanted him to see the plan. He just said, I don’t want to see it. I knew when you left my office last week that I picked the right person and this is yours. And I told him, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear because that was a test.”

In Spring of 2015, Marshall was named one of the 50 most powerful women in corporate America by Black Enterprise magazine.

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