Robert Charles "Bob" Wright (born 1943) is an American media executive and businessman.
Early life and career
Wright joined American broadcaster NBC as president and chief executive officer in 1986, and was named chairman and CEO in 2001. He then served as chairman and chief executive officer of NBC Universal from May 2004 until February 2007. With more than two decades at the helm of one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies, Wright had one of the longest and most successful tenures of any media company chief executive. Before taking the helm of NBC, Wright had a diversified career in general management, marketing, and media, much of it with General Electric, where he served as vice chairman and executive officer. Among other roles, he was president of GE Financial Services and president of Cox Cable Communications.
In 2004, he and his wife, Suzanne, founded Autism Speaks, which has become the leading advocacy and research-funding organization devoted to autism. As of January 2016 Wright is serving as Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners.
He is on the boards of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation and AMC Networks Inc., and is a trustee of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is also chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association. Wright is a former member of the executive committee of Rand Corporation and a former director of EMI Group Global Ltd. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and of the Law School of University of Virginia.
Wright’s book, The Wright Stuff: From NBC to Autism Speaks, will be published on March 29, 2016.
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.
Under Wright's 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).
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, and was the first major media executive to forcefully articulate the costs of content theft in the television and film industries. Among his notable public statements on this issue are an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal ("Stop IP Theft," November 8, 2005) and keynote speeches at the Media Institute ("Technology and the Rule of Law in the Digital Age," Washington, D.C., October 27, 2004) and the Third Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy ("'Hear No Evil' No Longer," Geneva, January 30, 2007) Wright's speech at the Media Institute was published in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, vol. 19, issue 2 His 2002 speech for the Legatus Tri-State Chapter on issues of faith and business was reprinted in 50 High-Impact Speeches and Remarks.
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.
- 1996: Hall of Fame, Broadcasting & Cable
- 1997: Gold Medal Award, International Radio & Television Society Foundation
- 1998: Steven J. Ross Humanitarian of the Year Award, UJA-Federation of New York
- 2001: Striving for Excellence Award, Minorities in Broadcasting Training Program
- 2002: Public Service Award, Ad Council
- 2003: Golden Mike Award, Broadcasters’ Foundation
- 2004: Freedom of Speech Award, Media Institute
- 2005: Humanitarian Award, Simon Wiesenthal Center
- 2005: Distinguished Leadership in Business Award, Columbia Business School
- 2006: Visionary Award, Museum of Television & Radio
- 2006: Double Helix Medal, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (co-recipient with his wife, Suzanne) 
- 2007: Cable Hall of Fame, Cable Center
- 2009: Advertising Hall of Fame, AAF
- 2013: Dean’s Medal, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (co-recipient with his wife, Suzanne) 
- Article in Variety
- "Media Institute Speeches". Media Institute. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Global Congress Combatting Counterfeiting and Piracy". Third Global Congress. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- Wright, Bob (2005). "Technology and the Role of Law in the Digital Age". Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. 19 (2): 705-710. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
- Kador, John (2004). 50 High-Impact Speeches and Remarks. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 121-128. ISBN 0-07-142194-7.
- "B&C Hall of Fame Honor Roll". BC Hall of Fame. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Billboard". 29 March 1997. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "UJA-Federation of New York". UJA-Federation of New York. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "SFE Awards". MIBTP. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Adweek Calendar". Adweek. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Recipients" (PDF). Broadcasters Foundation of America. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Media Institute Press Release". Media Institute. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Simon Wiesenthal Center Announcement". Simon Wiesenthal Center. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Columbia Business School Honor Bob Wright". Columbia Business School Newsroom. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "The Museum of Television & Radio's Annual Gala in New York to Honor Bob Wright". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Double Helix Medal History". Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Cable Hall of Fame 2007 Honorees". Cable Hall of Fame. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Advertising Hall of Fame Members". Advertising Hall of Fame. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "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