WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bridget Baker, President, TV Networks Distribution, NBCUniversal, and Jerry Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Suddenlink Communications, are the 2012 recipients of the cable industry’s top honor, the Vanguard Award for “Distinguished Leadership,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) announced today. 

Baker and Kent top the list of Vanguard Award winners who will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the cable industry.  The 2012 Vanguard Awards will be presented on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at a luncheon and awards ceremony during The Cable Show 2012, NCTA’s 61st Annual Convention & International Exposition, May 21 – 23, at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center.

Inaugurated in 1965, the Vanguard Awards are presented annually to individuals who excel in both business and personal commitment to their colleagues, and whose accomplishments merit the recognition of the entire cable industry. 

The Vanguard Awards will be presented by Amy Tykeson, Chair of the NCTA Vanguard Awards Committee, President and CEO of BendBroadband, and a member of the NCTA Board of Directors.  A complete list of 2012 Vanguard Award honorees, along with a description of each award, follows.

Distinguished Leadership

Each year, two awards are presented, to one man and one woman, who have consistently demonstrated the highest level of cable industry leadership. This year’s recipients are:

Bridget Baker, President, TV Networks Distribution, NBCUniversal.  A cable industry pioneer, Baker has spent her career at NBCUniversal, helping to build a multi-billion dollar cable portfolio.  Named NBCUniversal’s first President of TV Networks Distribution in 2006, Baker oversees the North American distribution of NBCUniversal’s content across the cable, satellite and telecommunications industry.  Baker is credited with developing NBCUniversal’s cable assets from inception, helping to transform the company from a dominant broadcaster of the 1980s to a 21st century multi-platform powerhouse.  She is responsible for the distribution strategy and execution of a content portfolio that includes many of the industry's top-rated networks – USA, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Sprout, Style Network, Syfy, The Golf Channel, MSNBC and Oxygen – as well as the network-owned NBC and Telemundo stations, Olympic content on cable and broadband, and video-on-demand, pay-per-view and set top box content.  Baker serves on the Board of the T. Howard Foundation (which honored her last month with its annual Champion Award, for commitment to diversity), and is also a Director on the Boards of the NBCU Foundation, the Cable Center, and the CTAM Educational Foundation.  She also serves on NCTA’s CablePAC Committee.  Baker is regularly selected as one of CableFAX Magazine’s "Top 100 Cable Executives," and Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100 Women in Entertainment.”  Baker is often honored for her leadership with Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT), which in 2004 honored her with Lifetime Achievement and Wonder Woman awards.

Jerry Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Suddenlink Communications.  A prominent entrepreneur, pioneer, and trailblazer in the telecommunications industry, Kent has an outstanding track record, which includes helping to build Suddenlink into the seventh largest U.S. cable operator.  In recognition of his success, Multichannel News named Kent its “Executive of the Year” in 2011, citing Suddenlink's performance and his “stellar reputation in the cable community.”  Kent also serves as CEO of Cequel III, which he co-founded in January 2002. Cequel III is a telecommunications management company currently involved in the cable, data center, and tower services and construction businesses.  Previously, Cequel III built AAT Communications into the largest privately owned cell tower company in the United States before successfully selling that enterprise in 2006.  Kent began his cable career in 1983, heading up acquisitions and finance for Cencom Cable Associates, later serving as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.  Following a successful sale of Cencom, Kent co-founded Charter Communications, Inc.  He led Charter to become one of the 10 largest cable operators in the United States, serving 1.3 million customers.  In 1998, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen acquired Charter, providing a substantial return for Charter’s private investors.  Kent serves on the Boards of Directors and Executive Committees of CableLabs and NCTA. He currently serves as Chairman of the Cable Center Board of Directors. He also serves on the Board of Directors for C-SPAN and the Advisory Board for Cable in the Classroom.  Last year, Kent co-chaired the very successful Cable Show 2011 in Chicago. 

Cable Operations Management

This award recognizes the efforts of cable's system managers, who work under intensely competitive conditions in today's dynamic telecommunications environment, and are critical to the cable industry's success at the local level. This year’s recipient is:

Jill Campbell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Cox Communications Inc.  Campbell oversees the company's day-to-day operations and ensures companywide alignment with competitive strategies to enhance marketplace execution and grow the company's 6 million residential and commercial customers. She provides leadership for Cox departments and divisions including: field operations, field services, customer care, marketing and sales, and public affairs.  A veteran of numerous positions within the company, Campbell joined Cox in 1982, and most recently served as senior vice president of field operations, where she was responsible for overseeing operations of all of Cox’s cable systems in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, New England, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Virginia.  Campbell has served on the boards of the California, Arizona and Nevada cable television associations. Campbell was named as one of Multichannel News’ Wonder Women of 2002, and she is also a member of Class X of Women in Cable Telecommunications’ Betsy Magness Leadership Institute. In 2004, Campbell was the recipient of the Atlanta WICT Woman of the Year Award, and in 2008 she was honored by the WICT national organization as Woman of the Year.  She also served as Chairperson of the WICT Foundation Board from 2004 to 2007.

Programming

Cable’s creative programming services make the industry a leader in the home entertainment and news and information business.  This award recognizes innovation, leadership and individual achievement of NCTA’s programmer members.  This year’s honoree is:

John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks.  Landraf oversees all aspects of entertainment and business operations of FX, FX Productions and Fox Movie Channel.  Under his guidance, FX has become home to a roster of critically acclaimed, award winning and highly rated original programming.  Landgraf first joined FX as President of Entertainment in 2004, and was elevated to the position of President and General Manager of FX Networks in 2005.  The first series launched on his watch was the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated drama series “Rescue Me,” and since then, he has expanded FX’s original offerings to eventually become the first cable network with 11 scripted original series on its schedule.  In his eight years with FX Networks, Landgraf has proven himself to be one of the most accomplished programmers in television. 

Science & Technology

This award honors individuals who have played a significant role in product improvement as well as in the design and development of engineering techniques.  This year’s honoree is:

Chuck Pagano, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, ESPN, Inc.  Pagano joined ESPN in 1979, prior to its debut, and was named ESPN’s first chief technology officer in 2011.  In this role as CTO he continues to serve as ESPN’s executive vice president of technology, a position he assumed in 2005, but he now has duties across The Walt Disney Company. He is responsible for all technology sectors within ESPN, including television, radio, and new media, as well as research and development.  Under Pagano’s leadership, ESPN has advanced television technology throughout the industry including developing the first nationally-delivered 3D network in the United States, ESPN 3D; bringing virtual enhancements such as EA Virtual Playbook to studio and remote TV telecasts and expanding its technological footprint around the globe.  Among his many accomplishments, Pagano was the key driver in the creation of ESPN’s Bristol-based Digital Center, one of the most technically sophisticated television production facilities in the world.

Government & Community Relations

This award recognizes individuals who have had a significant impact on promoting a positive public image and advocating public policy positions for the cable industry at the national, state and/or local levels.  This year’s honoree is:

Gail MacKinnon, Executive Vice President and Chief Government Relations Officer, Time Warner Cable.  In her position, MacKinnon oversees the company’s Washington, D.C. public policy office and is responsible for the company’s legislative and regulatory strategies.  MacKinnon previously served as Senior Vice President of Global Policy for Time Warner Inc. where she helped oversee all of Time Warner’s government, political and public policy activities in Washington D.C., working closely with the company’s business units as well as assisting in managing various trade association relationships.  Prior to joining Time Warner Inc., MacKinnon served as Senior Vice President for Government Relations at NCTA, and as Vice President of Government Relations at Viacom Inc. She joined Viacom in 2000 after its merger with CBS. At CBS, she served as Vice President, Federal Relations. MacKinnon also served as Director of Government Relations at Telecommunications Inc. (TCI), and began her career in the cable industry in 1994, when she joined Turner Broadcasting as Director of Government Relations.  MacKinnon currently sits on the WICT board of directors.

Marketing

This award honors an individual who has been instrumental in the development of marketing approaches that significantly enhance cable's public image and increase customers.  This year’s honoree is:

Linda Schupack, Executive Vice President, Marketing, AMC.  Schupack is responsible for the strategic oversight, management and implementation of the network’s multiplatform consumer and trade marketing activities, including advertising campaigns and consumer and advertising sales promotions.  Schupack also directs the network’s brand identity, which speaks to its critically acclaimed original programming as well as its library of movies.  She was promoted to this role earlier this year.  Schupack’s innovative marketing leadership has played a crucial role in expanding AMC’s audience, as well as solidifying AMC’s spot in the lexicon of pop culture and in television history.  Much of AMC’s recent ratings success can be attributed to its original programming, supported by inventive marketing campaigns.  Schupack served previously at AMC’s senior vice president of marketing.  She joined AMC in 2005 from parent company AMC Networks Inc., where she served for four years as senior vice president of creative services.  She has been named by AdWeek as Entertainment Marketer of the Year, and as a credit to her leadership, AMC’s marketing department has been acknowledged as CableFAX Magazine’s Marketing Team of the Year. 

Associates & Affiliates

This award recognizes the important contributions of equipment manufacturers and service suppliers to cable industry innovation, growth and progress. This year’s honoree is:

Dan Moloney, President, Motorola Mobility.  A 29-year veteran of Motorola, Inc., Moloney is responsible for the home business, which comprises the company’s video network infrastructure and home devices portfolios. In addition, he oversees the company’s focus on converged experience solutions, as well as Motorola Mobility’s Advanced Technology, Supply Chain, IT and Government Relations functions.  Prior to the separation of Motorola, Inc. in early 2011, he served as Executive Vice President and President of Motorola’s Home and Networks Mobility business, a provider of integrated and customized end-to-end media solutions for cable, wireline and wireless service providers. In that role, Moloney led the expansion of the breadth and global market presence of this business, which became a worldwide leader in both video and WiMAX wireless solutions.

Young Leadership

The growth of cable is in large part due to the energy, vitality and creativity of the many young people working within the industry, and the Young Leadership Award recognizes those individuals who already have made a mark on the industry and its constituents.  This year, two outstanding individuals will be recognized.  The honorees are:

Tapan Dandnaik, Senior Vice President, Customer Service and Financial Operations, Mediacom Communications Corp.  Dandnaik is responsible for customer service strategy and all call center related activities at Mediacom. As a member of the company’s senior leadership team, he is responsible for broad-based strategic planning, financial analysis and business requirements development for Mediacom’s residential video, high-speed online and landline phone services. According to Mediacom, Dandnaik’s passion for technology and operations has helped him drive significant improvements in customer service.  Dandnaik joined Mediacom in 2005 as Vice President, Financial Operations. Consistent with his earlier progress, he quickly added on the data warehouse, billing, and marketing and operational process improvement functions and was promoted to Group Vice President. In 2008, Dandnaik was the recipient of the Chairman’s Leadership and Development Award.  He has also served as a prominent member of The Cable Center Customer Care Committee. 

Jeffrey Hirsch, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Residential Services, Time Warner Cable.  Hirsch was appointed to his current role in 2011, and is responsible for corporate marketing and customer care for the company’s more than $16 billion residential business.  As CMO, he oversees the development and management of the company’s brand architecture, bundling and pricing strategies, retail and web channels, consumer research and segmentation approaches. Prior to his current position, Hirsch served as Regional President of Residential Services for Time Warner Cable’s New York City region. In that capacity, he oversaw customer support, technical operations, and sales and marketing functions for 1.4 million homes in the New York City area. 

Attending the Awards Ceremony

Admission to the Vanguard Awards ceremony and reception at The Cable Show 2012 in Boston will be by ticket only.  Tickets may be purchased at $75 per ticket or $750 per table of 10 seats. Please visit www.thecableshow.com/Vanguards for purchasing instructions. If you have questions or require assistance, please contact Katie Mousavian at 202-222-2355 or kmousavian@ncta.com.  For additional, up-to-the-minute information, or to register for The Cable Show 2012, visit the official web site (www.thecableshow.com).

  • Media Attendance:  The Vanguard Awards event is open to the media at no cost, but reservations are mandatory. Reporters and editors may make reservations by contacting Samantha Greene at The Fratelli Group, at 202/822-9491 or sgreene@fratelli.com, no later than May 18, 2012.
  • Photo Editors:  To obtain photos of the Vanguard winners, please contact Pam Ford at pford@ncta.com

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