Timothy E. Wirth
President, United Nations Foundation, 2011 Cable Hall of Fame
Timothy E. Wirth is the President of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund. Both organizations were founded in 1998 through a major financial commitment from Ted Turner to support and strengthen the work of the United Nations.
Wirth began his political career as a White House Fellow under President Lyndon Johnson and was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the Nixon Administration. In 1970, Wirth returned to his home state and ran successfully for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. He represented Denver suburbs in Congress from 1975-1987. As a first term Congressman, Wirth organized the "Freshman Revolt" in 1975, and with colleagues Norman Mineta, Leon Panetta and Dick Gephardt, he was part of "The Gang of Four" challenging the budget process and developing a high technology and alternative budget in 1982. As Chair of the Communications Subcommittee, he led Congressional initiatives to deregulate the communications industry in America. Congressional legislation became the template for the court-ordered break-up of the AT&T monopoly, and Wirth's Cable Television Bill of 1984 restructured the television industry. Wirth also authored the Indian Peaks Wilderness Act of 1978.
Wirth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 where he focused on environmental issues, particularly global climate change and population stabilization. In 1988, he organized the historic Hansen hearings on climate change. With his close friend, the late Senator John Heinz (R-PA), he authored "Project 88", outlining the groundbreaking "Cap and Trade" idea which became law in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He authored the far-reaching Colorado Wilderness Bill which became law in 1993, and with Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) he authored major legislation focused on population stabilization.
In Colorado, Wirth organized the Senate Task Force on the Expansion of Major League Baseball, which became a major factor in the awarding of a new expansion franchise to Denver. He led the effort to gain extensive federal funding for the new Denver Airport, and initiated the successful water policy that obviated plans for the Two Forks Dam. He chose not to run for re-election in 1992, citing in a front page cover story in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (August 9, 1992), frustration with the ever increasing role of money in politics to the exclusion of focus on public policy.
Following these two decades of elected politics, Wirth was national Co-chair of the Clinton-Gore campaign, and served in the U.S. Department of State as the first Undersecretary for Global Affairs from 1993 to 1997. He helped organize U.S. foreign policy in the areas of refugees, population, environment, science, human rights and narcotics. He chaired the United States Delegation at the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, and was the lead U.S. negotiator for the Kyoto Climate Conference until he resigned from the Administration in late 1997 to accept Ted Turner's invitation to be President of the newly created United Nations Foundation.
As President of the UN Foundation (UNF) since its inception in early 1998, Wirth has organized and led the formulation of the Foundation's mission and program priorities, which include the environment, women and population, children's health, and peace, security and human rights. The Foundation also engages in extensive public advocacy, fundraising, and institutional strengthening efforts on behalf of the United Nations. By mobilizing these diverse resources, the UN Foundation works with many public and private partners and manages a variety of campaigns to help solve major problems facing the UN and the world community, including:
•Mobilizing resources in support of the eradication of polio with Rotary International, the Gates Foundation, and the World Bank;
•Initiating a global campaign to diminish the impact of measles with the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and UN Agencies;
•Stimulating a nationwide grassroots program for the purchase of anti-malaria bed nets ("Nothing But Nets") with many partners (including the World Health Organization and the National Basketball Association);
•Organizing support for the special needs of adolescent girls within the UN and many private sector partners with Nike and lead UN Agencies;
•Supporting the United Nations Population Fund, and working with Congress to increase U.S. funding and bring greater focus to AIDS prevention;
•Developing standards for better managing tourism's impact on the environment and contribution to climate change in close partnership with UNESCO and with Expedia and other industry leaders;
•Leading work to develop the UN framework for the post-Kyoto climate negotiations through a close partnership with the UN's leadership and retired heads of State throughout the world (The Club of Madrid);
•Managing a public-private effort with major segments of the agriculture community and UN agencies for better understanding of the promise, challenge and economics of bioenergy; and
•Advancing aggressive standards for energy efficiency in the U.S. and abroad with the U.S.-centered Energy Future Coalition.
Prior to entering politics, Wirth was in private business in Colorado. The son of teachers, he was a scholarship student and graduate of Harvard College, served as a Harvard "Baby Dean" after graduation, and received a Ph.D. from Stanford University. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, he also served as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. He was recently honored as a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme. Wirth is married to Wren Wirth, the President of the environmentally oriented Winslow Foundation; they have two grown children and five grandchildren
Paul F. Kagan
Chairman & CEO , PK WORLDMEDIA, INC., 2011 Cable Hall of Fame
Paul Kagan is Chairman/CEO of PK Worldmedia, Inc., in Carmel, CA., which conducts conferences and provides research and consulting services to executives, financiers and investors in digital entertainment and communications media technologies. He has appeared on television and moderated or served as panelist on several hundred forums in the U.S.. Europe and Asia during his 40-year career.
While a broadcasting securities analyst for E.F. Hutton in New York in 1968—when the first cable TV companies went public—he was among the first to discover the potential of cable television. After founding Paul Kagan Associates, Inc., in New York in 1969, he was the first analyst to publish public company valuations based on multiples of cash flow, now widely used under the acronym of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) by analysts in many industrial sectors. He sold PKA in 2000 and launched PKWM in 2006.
Kagan graduated from Hunter College of the City University of New York, with a B.A. degree in Communications Studies and is a member of the Hunter Hall of Fame. While a student, he was Sports Editor of the Hunter Arrow weekly newspaper and, in his senior year, served as the college's Sports Information Director. Prior to returning to the Big Apple to work for CBS, he was the play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees' farm team in Binghamton, NY.
Kagan is a Co-founder and Director of the Cable TV Center and a Co-founder and Director Emeritus of the John Bayliss Broadcast Foundation, which offers grants to students seeking a career in radio. He is a fellow of the New York Society of Security Analysts and a member of the Media Analysts Group of New York.
James L. Gray
Former President, Warner Cable Communications, 2011 Cable Hall of Fame
A veteran of the entertainment and telecommunications industries, Jim Gray has served as President of Warner Cable, Vice Chairman of Time Warner Cable and eventually Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PRIMESTAR.
Mr. Gray began his career in the cable industry at Warner Cable, serving for 18 years in various operating positions. His major accomplishments for Warner Cable included the successful franchising efforts in major metropolitan cities throughout the 1970's, as well as the marketing of the "Qube" interactive Cable System during the late 1970's. Mr. Gray was appointed President of Warner Cable in 1986, playing key roles in both the growth of Warner Cable and the eventual merger with the American Television and Communications Corporation, which led to the formation of Time Warner Cable in 1992 and 1993. He served as Vice Chairman of Time Warner Cable from 1992 until 1994.
In 1995, Mr. Gray was named Chairman of PRIMESTAR, a joint venture of the cable industry. He maintained overall management responsibility of PRIMESTAR's direct broadcast satellite (DBS) business, providing strategic direction to guide the company in the highly competitive DBS industry. Mr. Gray led PRIMESTAR to become the nation's second largest distributor of mini-dish satellite television entertainment, building a base of nearly 2 million subscribers by year-end 1997. He also directed the company through its 1997 national expansion to 160 channels, the largest upgrade a telecommunications company had ever undertaken.
Active within the industry, Mr. Gray has served on the boards of several telecommunications companies and associations, including the National Cable Television Association and Turner Broadcasting System. He has acted as Chairman of the Executive Committee as well as Director of C-SPAN, in addition to serving as a Director of E! Entertainment Television, Cable in the Classroom and the Walter Kaitz Foundation. Mr. Gray was also the Chairman of Challenge 2000, a fundraising organization for adult literacy efforts in Central Ohio.
Mr. Gray earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Kent State University and his Master's of Business Administration from State University of New York at Buffalo. He resides in Naples, Florida with his wife, Ronnie. Mr. Gray has a son, Michael D. Gray, a daughter, Lesley A. Bailey and two grandchildren, Conner and Brooke Bailey.
Rocco B. Commisso
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Mediacom Communications , 2011 Cable Hall of Fame
Rocco Commisso's illustrious career with the cable television industry spans more than three decades. He is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of Mediacom Communications Corporation, a company he founded in 1995 in the basement of his home to acquire and reinvigorate cable systems in the nation's underserved smaller communities. Together with his dedicated management team, Rocco took Mediacom public in 2000 and engineered its dramatic growth into the nation's 8th largest cable operator with annual revenues of $1.5 billion. With its corporate offices in Middletown, NY and 4,500 employees in 22 states, Mediacom is the leading provider of advanced broadband services to over 1.3 million customers in 1,500 small cities and towns across America.
Commisso began his business career at Pfizer Inc.'s manufacturing facility in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating from business school in 1975, he spent a decade in the financial community, initially at The Chase Manhattan Bank and then at Royal Bank of Canada, where he led the bank's U.S. lending activities to companies in the media and communications sectors. From 1986 to 1995, he served as executive vice president, chief financial officer and director of Cablevision Industries Corporation. During his tenure there, privately-held Cablevision Industries grew from the 25th to the 8th largest cable company in the nation, serving over 1.3 million customers at the time of its merger with Time Warner.
Commisso serves on the executive committees and board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. He is also on the board of directors of the National Italian American Foundation and C-SPAN and is a member of the Cable TV Pioneers. He is the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the National Italian American Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2007, Commisso was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. In 2008, he served as Co-Chair of the Cable Show, the industry's premier annual event. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, the cable industry's highest honor, and Mediacom was named the nation's best cable company by CableFAX Magazine.
Born in Calabria, Italy, Rocco immigrated to the United States at age 12. He earned both a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and a master's degree in business administration from Columbia University. While at Columbia, he was co-captain of the varsity soccer team and was elected president of the business school student body. In 2004, on the 250th anniversary of Columbia's founding, the school's daily newspaper listed Commisso as one of its 250 greatest alumni.
Chairman and CEO, Time Warner Inc., 2011 Cable Hall of Fame
Jeff Bewkes is chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc. He was elected chairman of the board of directors in January 2009, having served on the board since January 2007. He was elected CEO of the company in January 2008.
Prior to being named chairman and CEO, Mr. Bewkes served as Time Warner's president and COO from 2005 to 2007 and as chairman of the entertainment and networks group from 2002 to 2005. Before joining the corporate management of Time Warner, Mr. Bewkes served as chairman and CEO of HBO since 1995.
Mr. Bewkes serves on the boards of Yale University, Museum of the Moving Image, the Partnership for New York City and on the advisory boards for Stanford Graduate School of Business, Yale School of Management, the American Museum of Natural History, The Creative Coalition and The Paley Center for Media.
Mr. Bewkes has a BA from Yale University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Anchor, CNBC, 2011 Cable Hall of Fame
Maria Bartiromo is the anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell" and host and managing editor of "The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo," recently rated the most watched financial news program in America. It is a nationally syndicated business, financial and economic news program.
Bartiromo joined CNBC in 1993 after five years as a producer and assignment editor with CNN Business News. In 1995, Bartiromo became the first journalist to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on a daily basis.
In May 2008, Bartiromo received a Gracie Award? in the category of Outstanding Documentary for her documentary "Greenspan: Power, Money & the American Dream." She was also awarded a 2008 News and Documentary Emmy for her "Bailout Talks Collapse" coverage. In December 2009, Bartiromo was featured in the Financial Times as one of the "50 Faces that Shaped the Decade."
Bartiromo's book, "The 10 Laws of Enduring Success," was released by Crown Business, a division of Random House, Inc., in late March 2010. Her latest book, "The Weekend that Changed Wall Street," will be released by Portfolio / Penguin in early September 2010.
Bartiromo is a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University. She is on the Board of Directors of the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York and PENCIL, Public Education Needs Civic Involvement and Leadership, which is a non-profit group focusing on improving New York high schools. She is also a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, The Economic Club of New York, and the Board of Governors of the Columbus Citizens Foundation.