Honoring Leading Executives in Cable
Recipients Pave the Way in Branding, Technology and Community Relations
Name: Dinesh “Dinni” Jain, president-COO, Insight Communications
Vanguard Award: Cable Operations Management
How long in current position: Five years. Mr. Jain was appointed president in February 2006, having served as chief operating officer since October 2003.
Born: 1964, New York City.
Why chosen: “Thankfully, Cablevision didn’t have one of their usual great years and let us win something,” he joked. Building on Insight’s solid foundations, Mr. Jain established a new operating paradigm for the company, fostering sustainable growth capability by emphasizing acquisition and retention. He replaced cash flow targets with new, more upstream metrics. Connects and disconnects were scrutinized daily, direct sales became a significant contributing factor to customer acquisition and quality customer service became the underpinning for customer retention. Insight’s basic customer growth has been on the rise, hitting 5% in 2008. Mr. Jain has been credited with the lion’s share of the firm’s ongoing success.
Who knew: “I only learned how to ride a bike three years ago. Also, I still have never tasted coffee in my life.”
Name: James “Jim” Walton, president, CNN Worldwide
Vanguard Award: Programming
How long in current position: Six years
Born: 1958, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Why chosen: “It’s a really nice recognition by the committee who voted on the award for what CNN Worldwide did in 2008 across all of our networks. We had tremendous coverage of all of the news, especially the election campaigns,” he said.
“We also had terrific programming on Headline News. It had its highest-rated year ever. Also, the programming on our digital businesses, CNN Mobile and CNN.com, was really strong. I think the election programming was part of the whole. I don’t know how they decided, I wasn’t in the committee meetings, but I would assume it was for consistent coverage of all the great programming ratings across our networks.”
Who knew: “I learned to read the Daily Racing Form and how to handicap horse racing as a very young child. From time to time, I still to this day like to go to the racetrack.”
Name: Jay Rolls, senior VP, technology development, Cox Communications.
Vanguard Award: Science and Technology
How long in current position: “At the beginning of the year, my role in the organization changed. Cox is merging the IT and engineering organizations into one, creating a unified technology organization. As part of this exciting process, I am enjoying the opportunity to focus on the future of the network and planning. Prior, as part of the engineering organization, my title for three years was senior VP of technology.”
Born: 1961, Washington, D.C.
Why chosen: “I believe the Vanguard Awards are usually given as recognition to long-term contributors to the industry for career/lifetime achievements. In this view, my role as part of the team that built and helped make Cox’s broadband network successful would be a primary contributor to this recognition.
“However, last year my personal fortitude was certainly tested when I found myself in the middle of a patent-infringement lawsuit brought on Cox by Verizon. A huge amount of damages was being requested from Cox, and the viability of cable telephony was at risk. I am pleased to say that our team was able to force the withdrawal of two of the patents from the case, while invalidating two other patents and also proving that we were not infringing on the remaining four. This was an enormous victory for Cox and a decisive victory for cable. I believe that this likely played into my being honored with a Vanguard Award.”
Who knew: “I once cycled from Hanoi to Saigon before the U.S. embargo was lifted in the early ’90s. I still ride my bike a lot—including bike commuting to work about 50 days a year.”
Name: Bonnie Hathaway, VP, public affairs, Time Warner Cable
Vanguard Award: Government and Community Relations
How long in current position: Since 2003. Joined Time Warner Cable in1993 as director of community relations and was made senior director in 2000.
Born: “After World War II and before Vietnam, and grew up in Norristown, Pa., outside Philadelphia.”
Why chosen: “I think it is more a recognition of accumulated effort over the years rather than something specific in the past 12 months,” Ms. Hathaway said. She has led Time Warner Cable’s community, philanthropic and education outreach for 16 years and has made a significant impact on the company and the communities it serves. This year marked the 20th anniversary of Time Warner Cable’s National Teacher Awards; the company has honored more than 1,000 teachers in that time. Ms. Hathaway, during her tenure in the cable industry, also has made significant contributions to organizations outside the company, including Cable in the Classroom, Cable Positive and the Association of Cable Communicators.
Who knew: “I used to be a crime-prevention specialist for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GBI office was located near the Atlanta airport and they had a lot of state-of-the-art (at that time) video equipment, but no one knew how to use it, except me, of course, with my degree in radio/TV production. One day my squad commander grabbed me because there was a drug bust going down in our parking lot and I videotaped it from our office window.”
Name: Robert “Bob” Stanzione, chairman-CEO, ARRIS.
Vanguard Award: Associates and Affiliates
How long in current position: “Nine amazing years.”
Born: 1948, Bronx, N.Y.
Why chosen: “I think the fact that ARRIS has traditionally been a pure-play cable industry supplier is probably a factor. As a member of the NCTA board, I represent the role that vendors play in the industry—as the developers of technologies and architects of the building blocks that enable our MSO customers to offer subscribers the great variety of services and features they desire. I’d also point out that, as a company, we are truly customer-focused, and since the end of the telecom bust at the turn of the century have been able to maintain steady, profitable growth.”
Who knew: “I have two passions, my family and my work. One other thing that will always bring a smile to my face is a drive in a high-performance sports car.”
Name: Sean R.H. Bratches, executive VP, sales and marketing, ESPN
Vanguard Award: Marketing
How long in current position: Four years. Joined ESPN in 1988 as an account executive in the affiliate sales and marketing group.
Born: 1960, Berlin
Why chosen: “I am not only fortunate to work for a well-established brand that has equally established brands in its purview, but to work with some of the most talented marketers in the business. From ‘This Is SportsCenter,’ to our branding campaigns, to the numerous affiliate marketing campaigns our group executes every year, we have multiple touch points to reach the fans.
“I think this year, in particular, we hit our stride when it came to ‘Monday Night Football.’ The campaign was so in demand that bus-shelter creative in six cities around the country just disappeared—we can only assume to adorn barren walls in dorm rooms and basements across the country. It was a case of sticky fingers en masse that illustrated the affinity fans have for our brands. And I’d be remiss not to mention our campaign for the new, live morning ‘SportsCenters’ that launched on Aug. 11. One fearless ESPN employee, Steve Braband, allowed us to peer into his life in 15- and 30-second intervals more than 268 times for the 16 days leading up to the premiere. It was the first ever entirely live advertising campaign and it successfully demonstrated the value of communicating real-time information.”
Who knew: “I was born in Berlin nine months before the Berlin Wall was erected.”
Name: Charlie Collier, president and general manager, AMC
Vanguard Award: Young Leadership
How long in current position: Two and a half years. Started at AMC in 2006.
Born: 1969, Buffalo, N.Y.
Why chosen: “Since joining AMC, I have been fortunate enough to lead a team of talented people that have worked tirelessly to drive the network’s audiences and brand value to an all-time high. Together we celebrate movies every day while also delivering high-quality, original scripted series like ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad.’ Both of these originals have gained unprecedented critical acclaim and industry attention. ‘Mad Men’ won the Emmy for outstanding drama series, a historic moment for all of the basic-cable networks and an event that, with the multiple wins for ‘Breaking Bad,’ helped to drive AMC to becoming the most Emmy-recognized basic-cable network.
“Later this year, we are following up on the miniseries side with a re-imagination of the 1960s cult classic ‘The Prisoner’ starring Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen.
“In addition to the scripted originals, AMC also recently launched insightful nonscripted programming such as ‘AMC Storymakers,’ featuring actors in a round-table discussion, and ‘AMC News,’ a short-form programming strand covering entertainment news, including film premieres, major film festivals and industry award events.
“AMC is an uncompromising celebration of great stories across all of its platforms. I feel my job has been to create an environment where the best of storytelling, both theatrical and AMC-original, can thrive.”
Who knew: “I host an annual golf marathon to benefit CancerCare in which participants play as many holes as possible in one day. Most people in the industry don’t know that last year in the tournament, I played 253 holes of golf (over 14 rounds) in one day with an average score for each round below 80. We raised well over $1 million.”