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"Sometimes you want to promote somebody into a management position, because you like them or you think they're very talented, but if they're not good managers, that can be tough on the rest of
the organization."

– Bob Wright,
NBC Universal, Inc.
 

Biography: Bob Wright

Episode 408:
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!:
New Ways to Enjoy TV, Movies, and Music


Featured Guest:
Bob Wright, Chairman and CEO
NBC Universal

Bob Wright became chairman and chief executive officer of NBC Universal in May 2004, in conjunction with the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment. He joined the National Broadcasting Company as president and chief executive officer on September 1, 1986, and became chairman and chief executive officer on June 4, 2001. Wright has had one of the longest and most successful tenures of any media company chief executive. Under his leadership, NBC was transformed from a broadcast network into a global media powerhouse with leadership in television programming, station ownership, and television production. With the formation of NBC Universal, Wright takes the reins of one of the world's fastest-growing and most-profitable media and entertainment companies, and a leader in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Wright is also vice chairman of the board, executive officer and a member of the Corporate Executive Office of the General Electric Company.

During his successful tenure at the helm of NBC, Wright extended the broadcaster into cable and satellite, international, and new-media markets. At the same time, he expanded its ownership to 14 NBC-affiliated broadcast stations across the country. In 2002, NBC completed three significant acquisitions: Telemundo, the nation's second-largest Spanish-language media company, with 16 owned-and-operated stations in the continental United States and Puerto Rico; television station KNTV, which provides NBC programming to the San Francisco/San Jose market; and Bravo, a leading entertainment network, reaching more than 80 million viewers across the nation.

NBC Universal owns CNBC, which during Wright's tenure has become the global leader in business news, providing real-time financial-market information to more than 86 million households in the United States and 230 million homes worldwide. In addition, MSNBC, NBC's joint venture with Microsoft, reaches 83 million U.S. cable subscribers and up to 24 million unique users each month on the Internet.

Networks acquired as part of the Vivendi Universal Entertainment acquisition include the nation's most-watched basic cable network USA Network, SCI FI Channel, and TRIO. NBC Universal also has equity stakes in the A&E Network, the History Channel, and ValueVision's home shopping network, and a non-voting interest in Paxson Communications Corporation. Internationally, NBC Universal owns and operates a number of television channels offering entertainment programming across Europe and Latin America. In partnership with Dow Jones, the company provides leading local coverage of business and financial news to markets across Europe and Asia.

Prior to his association with NBC and now NBC Universal, Wright served as president of General Electric Financial Services and, before that, as president of Cox Cable Communications. He has had a diversified career in general management, marketing, and broadcasting. Much of it has been with General Electric, NBC Universal's parent company.

Wright has been the recipient of numerous honors, most recently the Visionary Award from the Museum of Television & Radio. In 2005, Wright received the Humanitarian Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center for fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach, and social action. Wright's past honors include the Distinguished Leadership in Business Award from Columbia Business School, the Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters' Foundation, the Steven J. Ross Humanitarian of the Year award from the UJA-Federation of New York, and the Gold Medal Award from the International Radio & Television Society Foundation. He has been honored by the Center for Communication for his industry leadership and has received the Ad Council's Public Service Award in recognition of his commitment to public service in both the public and private sectors. He has also been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.

Wright is on the board of trustees of the American Film Institute and the Museum of Television and Radio, and serves on the board of directors of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Corporation, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, and the New York Center for Autism. He is an honorary trustee of the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television. In addition, Wright is on the board of governors of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and is a member of the Society of New York Hospital Inc.

Along with his wife, Suzanne, Wright serves as co-founder of Autism Speaks, a new initiative dedicated to raising public awareness and research funds to find the answers to autism. Wright is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he received his LL.B. degree. He and Suzanne live in Connecticut and have three grown children.

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