Profile: Margaret Craig

May 27, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: CEO of Toronto-based Leitch, a maker of video and audio equipment for broadcasters, cable companies, telcos, post-production facilities and the Internet market.
Background: Ms. Craig joined Leitch in January 2000 as chief operating officer and became CEO in January 2002. Previously, she served as president of American operations for Snell & Wilcox. She worked at Tektronix for 12 years, starting as a design engineer and finishing as a general manager. She is an engineer by training, a background that is invaluable in shepherding a technology company. “What we do, of course, is very technical in nature, so in terms of developing a strategy, it’s helpful to know what your product really does,” she said. “It really helps your credibility with the engineers, and they are the brain trust of the company.”
The front burner: Ms. Craig became CEO in the throes of the recession, and among her top priorities has been to ensure that the company cleanly exits from some of its higher-risk investments. In Leitch’s third quarter, ending in January, the company wrote off its investment in video-over-IP company PathOne and shut down its semiconductor division SiCon. “In a down market, you can’t afford the cost or distraction,” she said. “We need to make sure we focus on the customer we serve-the professional video market.” While the bulk of the company’s revenue is derived from traditional video processing and distribution, the highest growth opportunity lies in the server market, she said.
HDTV: The transition to high definition will happen, she said. Large-market stations are on air with HD signals, cable operators have said they will carry HD, and consumer forces are strengthening, [as] evidenced by the interest in DVDs and big-screen TVs, she said.
The digital newsroom: “The key things are the production enhancements you get. If you wind through a tape, it takes time,” she said. “With disk, you go directly to where you want. The digital infrastructure is more reliable.” Stations have cut back spending, but when the natural replacement cycle of a product kicks in, broadcasters are likely to invest in digital equipment, she said.