Fenerbahce Istanbul general manager Maurizio Gherardini has been voted as EuroLeague Executive of the Year for the 2016-17 season. The award honors the person and club whose executive decisions have best exemplified the EuroLeague's commitment to excellence during the previous season.
In the short span of three years since he joined the club, Gherardini spearheaded and completed Fenerbahce's transformation from ambitious hopeful to EuroLeague powerhouse. During his tenure, Fenerbahce has been able to recruit some of the best players in Europe to form a seamless unit that has gotten better with each season. That roster planning has gone a long way to Fenerbahce making three historic EuroLeague Final Four appearances in a row while winning it this year.
Gherardini began his career with his hometown club in Forli, Italy, where he played and served as both assistant coach and youth teams director before becoming general manager while still in his 20s. Gherardini was hired by Benetton Treviso in 1992 and over the next 14 years turned the club into a European force that collected four Italian League championships, seven Italian Cups and two Saporta Cups, the last of those with current Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic on the bench.
Gherardini became the first European to hold a prominent role in an NBA front office when Toronto made him vice president and assistant general manager in 2006. Following seven seasons there, Gherardini spent one season with Oklahoma City before joining Fenerbahce in 2014.