Bob Wright had one of the longest and most successful tenures of any media company chief executive, serving for more than two decades, until February 2007, as the CEO of NBC and then NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. Wright was also vice chairman of the board, executive officer, and a member of the Corporate Executive Office of the General Electric Company, a position he held until May 2008. Wright has served since January 2008 as a senior advisor with Lee Equity Partners, focusing on investments in media and financial services.
Wright joined NBC as president and chief executive officer on September 1, 1986, and was made chairman and CEO of the network in June 2001. He then served as chairman and chief executive officer of NBC Universal from May 2004 until February 6, 2007.
Under Wright, NBC was transformed from a broadcast network into a global media powerhouse with leadership in television programming, station ownership, and television production. 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 significantly expanded the company’s ownership of broadcast television stations, increasing its reach to over 30% of U.S. television households. In 2004, Wright spearheaded NBC’s acquisition of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to create NBC Universal. Assets acquired as part of this transaction include Universal Studios, USA Network, and SCI FI Channel.
Prior to his association with NBC and NBC Universal, Wright served as president of General Electric Financial Services and, before that, as president of Cox Cable Communications. He had a diversified career in general management, marketing, and broadcasting. Much of it was 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 and the Cable Center Hall of Fame.
Wright is a founding member of the Global Leadership Group for BASCAP, the Business Alliance to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy. He has been a leading figure in the global business community in raising awareness of the economic dangers of counterfeiting and piracy. He 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 Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation. 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 national foundation dedicated to raising public awareness and research funds to find the answers to autism. In its first three years, Autism Speaks raised over $100 million and completed mergers with the Autism Coalition for Research and Education, the National Alliance for Autism Research, and Cure Autism Now, three of the nation’s most successful autism advocacy organizations. Wright played a leadership role in urging Congress to pass the almost $1 billion Combating Autism Act (CAA), which was signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, and he and his wife continue to advocate for CAA appropriations and the April 2007-introduced Expanding the Promise of Individuals with Autism Act, which would authorize $350 million in new federal funding for programs related to treatments, interventions and services for children and adults with autism.
In recognition of their outstanding achievements in raising awareness about autism, Suzanne and Bob Wright received the first-ever Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and received the President’s Medal for Excellence at Boston College’s Wall Street Council Tribute Dinner.
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. Suzanne and Bob Wright have three children and four grandchildren.
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