Industry Vets on Bob Wright

Apr 2, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Bob sure proved that a “light bulb guy” can brighten up a network for a long time. — Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO (1981 to 2001), GE

For more than 20 years, Bob Wright has been a worthy competitor and an important influence on the modern broadcast and cable business. He has been a key voice on issues that protect the rights of our industry and our audiences, and he has been a tireless advocate for important causes, including the fight to understand autism. His corporate presence will be missed, but we look forward to the continued impact of his philanthropy and good works. — Sumner Redstone, chairman, Viacom

Bob’s sound judgment and keen business acumen guided NBC through one of its most ambitious and important growth periods. He’s a colleague whose vision and leadership have always set a high standard. — Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO, Warner Bros.

Bob is a gentleman, he’s extremely smart, he was a great operator. I think he clearly created a great empire for GE and the media world. I started out being a supplier when I did “ER” and “Friends” at Warner Bros., and then we had to compete. He was always a gentleman, always a classy guy. My fondest remembrances—and I have a lot of them—were when I was out in the TV community and we were all concerned, who is this guy, this GE suit who is coming into the entertainment business? He proved to be a remarkable human being. He grasped the business, he respected the creative community immensely and he respected Brandon Tartikoff. Bob was very disarming, and he had a tough task. He came into a business where he was considered an outsider and quickly established himself as someone you could deal with. — Leslie Moonves, president and CEO, CBS Corp.

While Bob’s professional accomplishments are impressive, it’s his commitment to philanthropy, particularly his efforts in the field of autism, that is truly admirable. His sincere dedication to helping others and to making a difference in people’s lives is inspiring. — Bruce Rosenblum, president, Warner Bros. Television Group

First in broadcast, then cable, and more recently in movies, we’ve been competing with Bob for 20 years. Through it all, he has always been a forceful and successful advocate for NBC. He has a clear love for our business, and a clear voice of reason on the issues that matter to our industry and our audiences. We congratulate him on concluding this chapter in his career. And we look forward to his next act. — Philippe Dauman, president and CEO, Viacom

Bob Wright is an original. He’s a leader whose vision transformed NBC and shaped an industry, and a humanitarian committed to finding answers for the millions of families living with autism today. As a chief executive he’s been a game changer. As co-founder of Autism Speaks he plays a similar role, giving voice to a silent community by raising awareness, raising funds and raising hope. — Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney-ABC Television Group

It’s been a pleasure working with Bob over the years as our entire industry has evolved in ways none of us could have ever expected. Each time Comcast and NBC needed to think outside of the box to expand our relationship, it always came down to Bob’s creativity, like expanding the Olympics in unprecedented ways; he really made it happen for Comcast. Bob has been a true leader and wonderful partner, and we wish him the best. — Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast

The cable television community will certainly miss Bob. He has always been a progressive, strong-minded operator who continuously maintained the highest integrity while being an outstanding leader. Aside from all of the good things I could say about Bob, he is a very nice guy. We will miss working with him. — Ralph J. Roberts, founder and chairman of the Executive Committee, Comcast

Bob has this amazing ability to ask the one question that no one thought of. I’ve heard people say he can see around corners and through walls. That’s certainly been my experience. It’s all about vision, together with an incredible ability to synthesize and analyze new information. — Beth Comstock, president, integrated media, NBC Universal

Bob was tapped by GE to come run Cox in anticipation of GE’s planned purchase of Cox in the early 1980s. That purchase was eventually canceled, but Bob decided to stay on at Cox for a couple of years and all of us that were here back then appreciated that he did. Personally, as a twenty-something new to the business and trying to learn, it was not hard to see Bob’s leadership, strategic and intellectual capabilities and to learn from it. Beyond that, he had the vision and foresight to aggressively ramp up Cox’s franchising activities, which played a major role in positioning Cox for the future. Cox was and is a better place for Bob having been here. — Bob Wilson, senior VP of programming, Cox Communications

Bob is not only a great guy but he is probably one of the smartest business people I have ever known. His understanding of all aspects of the motion picture and television business is unmatched. — Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer, Universal Studios

There’s no question that Bob Wright assumed leadership of NBC at an extremely crucial time in the company’s history — during an era of formidable changes in the TV industry—and he maximized those opportunities to take NBC to unprecedented heights over 20-plus years. His%A0;vision and superb%A0;instincts profitably guided NBC through expanded television station ownership, the financial-syndication rule%A0;repeal that allowed the network to produce and own programming, cable network investment, and his crowning achievement in merging with Universal to form the global media company that is now NBC Universal. Yet it is also Bob’s common decency and personal passion for such charitable projects as Autism Speaks that will equally define his legacy. — Marc Graboff, president, NBC Universal Television, West Coast

Bob is a visionary and one of the most brilliant leaders I’ve ever known. He always took time for young people trying to learn, and he instilled a “get it right and know what you are talking about” expectation in many people. Were it not for his franchising skills and efforts Cox would not be the company it is today. He also created a long-term business planning discipline that we still utilize today. I consider him to be one of the top two or three influential leaders in my career. — Claus Kroeger, senior VP of operations, Cox Communications