Early life and career
Before taking the helm of NBC in 1986, Wright was president of GE Financial Services president of Cox Cable Communications before that. Before that, he had a diversified career in general management, marketing, and broadcasting, much of it with GE. As of May 2008 he is serving as the head of Media Mergers and Acquisitions at Thomas Lee Equity.
He was named president and CEO of NBC in 1986 by new General Electric boss Jack Welch. In 2001, he became chairman and CEO. In May 2004, NBC's parent company, General Electric, acquired Vivendi Universal Entertainment to create NBC Universal; Wright, who orchestrated the deal, was named chairman and CEO of the new company. In February 2007, Wright, after 21 years, was succeeded by Jeff Zucker, who was named president and CEO of NBC Universal. Wright remained chairman of the media company until May 2007 and remained vice chairman of GE until May 2008.
Wright had one of the longest and most successful tenures of any media company chief executive. Under his leadership, NBC was transformed from a broadcast network into a global media powerhouse, with leadership in TV programming, station ownership, and television production. In 1986, Wright's first year at NBC, the network had revenues of $2.6 billion. By 2006, his last full year at the helm, company revenues had grown to $16.2 billion. During Wright's tenure, NBC was GE's most successful business, enjoying double-digit compounded annual growth in operating profit.
Among his achievements, Wright diversified NBC by launching cable networks such as CNBC (the world's leading name in broadcast business news) and MSNBC (a leading news cable outlet and website). He also acquired entertainment cable network Bravo and Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, before orchestrating the VUE acquisition, which added to NBC the Universal Pictures film studio, Universal theme parks, and a collection of fast-growing and profitable cable networks such as USA Network and SCI FI Network (now called Syfy).
After his grandson was diagnosed with autism in 2004, he and his wife, Suzanne, established a foundation called Autism Speaks, which is now the largest organization representing families of people with autism in the US, with affiliates in the UK, Canada and Qatar. His three children Katie, Chris, and Maggie, all reside in New York City.
Through 2008, Bob and Suzanne were residents of Southport (Fairfield), Conn., where they had lived for 25 years.
Awards and nominations
Double Helix Medal
Dean's Medal-Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- 2013: Dean's Medal-Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Co-recipient with his wife, Suzanne.
- Article in Variety
- "Double Helix Medal History". Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Awards Dean’s Medals to Autism Speaks Founders Suzanne and Bob Wright". Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. October 15, 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
|CEO of NBC