Euroleague Basketball is pleased to announce that Marco Baldi, chief executive officer of ALBA Berlin, is the Gianluigi Porelli Euroleague Executive of the Year for the 2014-15 season. Mr. Baldi was voted as this season's top executive by his peers in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, earning the award for the second time in his career. Over the six seasons since he last won the Executive of the Year award, in 2009, Mr. Baldi led ALBA to a Eurocup final in 2010, a Eurocup quarterfinals appearance in 2014 and Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 berths in 2013 and 2015. This season, ALBA challenged for what would have been a historic first playoff berth by a German club until the final round of the Top 16, losing in a tiebreaker due to points differential.
Over more than two decades as its chief executive officer, Baldi has overseen ALBA Berlin's rise to prominence in German and European basketball. The growth of the team's fan base and the impact ALBA has had in its community make the club one of the most visible anywhere. Baldi's efforts in building teams that attract strong crowds regularly to one of Europe's biggest and newest basketball arenas, Mercedes-Benz Arena, which will host the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four for the second time next season, have everything to do with ALBA's increasing success on the court.
Baldi, 53, has been a part of the Alba Berlin management since the club's inception in 1990 and has been the force behind its rise to the forefront of European basketball. He was first a successful basketball player who made 85 appearances for Germany's junior national team and played for BG Ludwigsburg and DTV Charlottenburg Berlin of the German first division. Baldi, who also completed his studies with a Master’s degree in Business Administration during his playing days, turned to the private sector afterwards and became the head of marketing for the German-based technology company IBH Automation. Baldi returned to basketball as the manager of Charlottenburg, which was playing in the top German League, but was without a sponsor. It was his vision that brought the team together with Berlin Albatrosse (ALBA), a German recycling company, a union that changed the club's name and future. Within five years, Alba was able to win a European trophy – the Korac Cup in 1995 – the prelude to eight German League titles.
Additionally, ALBA Berlin has established itself as one of the most active clubs in Euroleague Basketball's corporate social responsibility programme, One Team, as one of its founding partners in 2012, with the goal of making basketball have a positive effect in different social fields. As part of its One Team action, ALBA is teaching basketball values to socially disadvantaged children at two primary schools, working with them 16 hours per week all year round. Under Mr. Baldi's leadership, ALBA Berlin has also established strong links with Chinese basketball that included the team visiting the country in 2011, holding basketball weekends for local youth and opening its own office in Beijing. Through its unique China program ALBA gives its partners an attractive platform, offering interested companies from both countries opportunities to network.
The Gianluigi Porelli Euroleague Executive of the Year award is one of the competition’s two annual post-season honors along with the Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy. The award recognizes those who make their efforts off the court and sometimes behind the scenes to build the clubs of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague into success stories both in basketball results, marketing achievements and community involvement. Mr. Porelli, who served as president of Virtus Bologna for more than two decades, was among the founders of ULEB and later its president. He passed away in 2009.
Previous Executive of the Year awards winners include: 2004-05, Jose Antonio Querejeta, Tau Ceramica Vitoria; 2005–06 Sergey Kushchenko, CSKA Moscow; 2006–07 Juan Manuel Rodriguez, Unicaja Malaga; 2007–08 Ferdinando Minucci, Montepaschi Siena; 2008–09 Marco Baldi, ALBA Berlin; 2009–10 Przemyslaw Seczkowski, Prokom Gdynia; 2010–11, Pavlos Giannakopoulos and Thanasis Giannakopoulos, Panathinaikos Athens; 2011–12, Panagiotis Angelopoulos and George Angelopoulos, Olympiacos Piraeus; 2012–13 Tuncay Özilhan, Anadolu Efes Istanbul; and 2013–14, Livio Proli, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan.