James O. Robbins To Retire At Year End
Patrick J. Esser promoted to President of Cox Communications
Jimmy W. Hayes promoted to Executive Vice President, Cox Enterprises – to become President & Chief Operating Officer
ATLANTA – Cox Communications, Inc., today announced that President and Chief Executive Officer James O. Robbins will retire, effective December 31, 2005, after leading the company for two decades.
Patrick J. Esser has been promoted to President, succeeding Robbins. In addition, Jimmy W. Hayes has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications, leaving his post effective immediately as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Cox Communications. At year end, Hayes will replace the retiring Dennis Berry as President and Chief Operating Officer of Cox Enterprises.
Robbins has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since 1985, guiding the company to becoming a multi-service, broadband communications powerhouse ranking third largest among the nation's cable television providers.
During his tenure as CEO, Jim quadrupled the size of the company while instilling a keen focus on operational excellence, customer satisfaction, people development and technological innovation. He has been hailed as a visionary for his early leadership on quality customer care and for the foresight to build a robust network, which paved the way for the company's entrance into lucrative new businesses such as telephony and high-speed Internet.
Robbins is a respected leader in the cable industry, serving twice as chairman of the National Cable Telecommunications Association and winning multiple awards, including the industry's Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership in 1996. Under Robbins' leadership, Cox Communications won the J.D. Power Award a precedent-setting four times for customer satisfaction in cable and telephone services; was recognized as the industry's best operator three times; and was named the best operator for women twice.
Following retirement, Robbins will join the board of directors of Cox Enterprises and will continue serving on the board of Cox Communications.
“Jim leaves a legacy of dedication and service excellence for Cox Communications' next generation of leadership,” said James C. Kennedy, Chairman of the board of Cox Communications and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications. “I'm happy that he will continue to make himself available to consult with the company on key strategic issues.”
Robbins said, “It's been an honor and privilege to lead my colleagues through two decades of enormous change, from a single product provider to the leading bundler of broadband communications services. That evolution could not have happened without the unfailing support of Jim Kennedy and Cox Enterprises and the dedication and excellent execution of thousands of great people in our company.”
As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Esser has been responsible for all Cox Communications operations in addition to overseeing programming, marketing, research, customer service, advertising sales, customer support and commercial services. Recognized for his many accomplishments in the telecommunications industry, he is a recipient of the Cable Television Advertising Bureau President's Award and serves on the Board of Directors for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing Educational Foundation.
“Pat's broad experience, strategic focus and operational expertise make him the right choice to lead Cox Communications,” Kennedy said.
Robbins added, “This company is in very good shape, and Pat is a great choice for accelerating the momentum we've built the past few years. His leadership is defined by his deep knowledge of the company and industry, his strategic sensibilities and his personal integrity. I wish him the very best as he continues making his mark at Cox.”
Esser will begin reporting to Jimmy Hayes at year end. Hayes has served in a variety of senior positions during his 25-year history at Cox, including responsibility for finance, information technology, legal & regulatory, human resources, programming, public affairs and investor relations. In his role as president and chief operating officer, Hayes will be responsible for Cox Communications, Manheim, Cox Newspapers, Cox Television, Cox Radio, AutoTrader.com, as well as finance, administration and business development.
“As Jimmy takes on the role of leading Cox Enterprises, he brings a wealth of skills and experience that will enhance and support the work of all of our subsidiaries,” Kennedy added.
Robbins joined Cox as vice president of the company's New York City Operations in 1983, and was later promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations in Atlanta. He was named President in 1985 and added CEO to his title in 1995 when the company went public.
Prior to joining Cox, Robbins served as Senior Vice President of Operations for Viacom Communications, Inc. Previously, he was Vice President and General Manager for Viacom Cable of Long Island, N.Y. From 1972 to 1979, Robbins served in various management positions for Continental Cablevision of Ohio, Inc., and Montachusett Cable Television, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Adams-Russell Company. Previously, he was Managing Editor of WBZ-TV News in Boston.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in American Studies, Robbins also holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He served as a destroyer line officer and a gunboat flotilla public affairs officer during two tours of duty with the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. Robbins serves on C-SPAN's Executive Committee; the Board of Trustees of STI Classic Funds, a mutual fund affiliate of Sun Trust Bank; and the Board of Directors of Cox Communications, Inc. He also sits on the Advisory Board of Forstmann Little & Company, and is President of the Board of Trustees of St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. Robbins also has served as Chairman of the Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, International, and as Chairman of the Policy Holders Examining Committee of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
With more than 20 years experience in the telecommunications industry, Esser's career has spanned a multitude of responsibilities. He started in the cable industry in 1979, as a field technician and salesman with McDonald Group's cable system in Waterloo, Iowa. Later that year, he joined Cox as Director of Programming for the company's Hampton Roads, Va., system, and in 1981 was part of the original management team that pioneered Cox's local advertising sales division, CableRep Advertising.
Esser launched and oversaw the advertising sales business for CableRep (now Cox Media) in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before joining the company's corporate staff as Director of Advertising Sales in 1990. He was later promoted to Vice President of Advertising Sales in 1991, where he was instrumental in developing and launching local news channels in seven of Cox's markets. In 1999, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations for the Western Division.
Esser is co-founder of the Product Information Network and previously served for a number of years as a board member on the industry's leading national spot sales organization, National Cable Communications. A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, he holds a B.A. and M.A. in Communications Media and is a 2003 recipient of the university's Heritage Honors Alumni Achievement Award.
In 1980, Hayes joined Cox Enterprises from Price Waterhouse, where he served as Audit Manager. Hayes was named a corporate officer in 1982 and was Controller of Cox Enterprises until 1989, when he joined Cox Communications as Vice President of Finance. He was named Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 1995 and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 1999.
A graduate of the University of Georgia, Hayes holds bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting. He also completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School in 1989. Jimmy has served in various capacities in industry associations, and during 2005 was recognized as one of the media industry's best CFO's by Institutional Investor Magazine. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.
Cox Communications Inc., a Fortune 500 company, is a multi-service broadband communications company with approximately 6.7 million total customers, including approximately 6.3 million basic cable subscribers. The nation's third-largest cable television provider, Cox offers analog cable television under the Cox Cable brand as well as digital video service under the Cox Digital Cable brand, featuring advanced services including digital video recording, high-definition television and video-on-demand. Cox provides an array of other communications services including local and long-distance telephone under the Cox Digital Telephone brand, high-speed Internet service under the Cox High Speed Internet brand, and home networking. Commercial voice and data services are offered via Cox Business Services. Local cable advertising, promotional opportunities and production services are sold under the Cox Media brand. Cox is an investor in programming services including Discovery Communications Inc. Cox Communications is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc.
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