W. Don Cornwell
W. Don Cornwell is the former CEO, Chairman, and co-founder of Granite Broadcasting (1988–2009). He stepped down as CEO on August 31, 2009.
Founded in 1988 with the purchase of stations in Duluth and Peoria, Granite developed from an entrepreneurial idea into a diverse station group which operates and provides services to 23 channels in 9 markets, reaching more than six percent of U.S. television households. The Company owns or manages affiliates of NBC (4), ABC (3), CBS (3), one major market My Network TV (MNTV) affiliate and one major marketindependent station. In many markets, Granite broadcasts additional programming content including MNTV, The CW Network (CW), Spanish language programming such as TvAzteca and LATV, and 24/7 local news over the digital spectrum of its stations.
Granite grew through operating performance and the acquisition of more than 15 television stations to become, at one time, one of the 25 largest television station groups as measured by Broadcasting and Cable Magazine and the largest television broadcast company in America controlled by an African American. Black Enterprise Magazine named Granite as its Company of the Year in 1995. From 1991 through 2006, Granite was publicly owned with common stock listed on NASDAQ and several issues of debt registered with the SEC.
Granite declared bankruptcy in December 2006 in order to restructure its balance sheet and had its plan of reorganization approved by the court in June 2007. Following the restructuring which included a severe period of recession beginning in 2007, Granite achieved significant reductions in station and corporate cost structure with widespread use of technology and innovative changes in business practices and business model.
Prior to founding Granite, Mr. Cornwell was employed by Goldman Sachs (1971 to 1988). He was formerly on the board of directors for CVS (1994–2007), the National Association of Broadcasters, the Hershey Trust Company and Milton Hershey School(-2002), the New York University Medical Center, the Wallace Foundation and chairman of Telecommunications Development Fund (1997–2006). Former trustee of Occidental College, and Citizens Budget Commission (2001–2005).
Born 1948, Cushing, OK. He grew up in Tacoma, WA. He is married to Saundra Williams-Cornwell and has two children, K. Don Cornwell and Samantha Cornwell.
1996 Occidental College, Alumnus of the Year Award
1999 Harvard Business School, Alumni Achievement Award