Pat Esser 2022 Bresnan Award Honoree
Retired President & CEO Cox Communications, Inc.
Pat Esser served as president and chief executive officer of Cox Communications. Cox is the largest private telecom company in America, and proudly serves over six million homes and businesses across 18 states.
Cox Communications is the largest division of Cox Enterprises, a family-owned business founded in1898 by Governor James M. Cox and is dedicated to empowering others to build a better future. The Cox family’s commitment to the telecom Industry continues to this day and is easily visible by the values their people demonstrate and the multi-billions of dollars in infrastructure they invest annually.
Pat’s leadership has spanned more than 40 years in cable and telecommunications culminating in his role as Cox’s top executive, a position he held since 2006. He joined Cox in 1979 as director of programming in Hampton Roads, VA, and was part of the original management team that pioneered Cox’s advertising sales division now known as Cox Media. Named corporate vice president of advertising sales in 1991, his career continued as he was appointed vice president of operations for Cox’s Western Division in 1999, and a year later was promoted to senior vice president of operations. In 2004, Pat was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer.
During his leadership tenure, Cox has earned many accolades for celebrating and developing its diverse people, suppliers, communities, products and the characteristics that make each one of us unique. In 2006, Cox first appeared in DiversityInc’s listing of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity and rose to a ranking at No. 11. Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) regularly points to Cox among the top operators for women. Pat has personally been recognized with several industry awards including the Cable Advertising Bureau’s President’s Award, NCTA’s Vanguard Award for Leadership, Multi Channel News’ Executive of the Year, NAIMIC’s Living Legend Award and Hall of Fame inductions by both the Cable Center and Multi Channel News.
Customer service excellence is a Cox hallmark that Pat helped develop. Cox has consistently ranked highly in annual J.D. Power and Associates’ studies of consumer satisfaction, with a total of 36 top honors across multiple residential and business product categories.
Pat currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of C-SPAN as well as a national Trustee and member of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He also served many years on both the board of CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Pat holds a B.A. and M.A. in Communications Media, and in 2003 was presented the university’s Heritage Honors Alumni Achievement Award.
Pat and his wife Connie are the proud parents 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren.