Ed Cunningham (executive)
Chet Edward “Ed” Cunningham is an American lawyer and CEO.
He has been involved in politics, serving as a member of President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee, the Presidential Advisory Committee (Technology), the U.S. Foreign Affairs Budget Project Advisory Committee, the American Academy of Diplomacy (Co-Director of International Negotiations Program), and the Democratic National Committee National Advisory Board.
Early life and education
Cunningham grew up in a small West Texas town with a population of fewer than 1,000 people. He played football for the University of Texas football team where he earned All-American honors and was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player. In addition, he received one of the University’s highest honors, the D. Harold Byrd Leadership Award. Before attending Texas Tech University School of Law, Cunningham had brief stints in the NFL with the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns..
Cunningham was a partner and Director for the Global Media, Sports and Entertainment Practice at the Coudert Brothers law firm. It was the first and, during Cunningham’s tenure, the largest international law firm in Asia (more than 1,000 attorneys). In addition to representing many of the world’s largest or most notable companies, Cunningham has served as an advisor and international counsel for Asian municipalities, provinces, and national government entities and officials.
Cunningham next served as the Asia CEO for Clear Channel Communications (Entertainment Division), a Fortune 500 Company. Cunningham worked with government leaders and companies to create China’s earliest joint ventures in the politically sensitive cultural, sports, entertainment, and media industries.
As AEG’s Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director and Special Advisor for Asia (2005-April 2009), Ed Cunningham was responsible for the region’s development. That has included building AEG’s global platform through landmark agreements to develop media, culture, sports, and entertainment in the region’s major cities, including the highly successful 2008 Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena and the 2010 World Expo Arena currently under construction. Under Cunningham’s guidance, AEG’s operations in the region grew from a single employee to more than 5,000 employees in eleven Asian cities, including exclusive partnerships with the NBA and other global leaders.
Cunningham has been active in many charitable initiatives. He founded and organized the China Earthquake Tent Relief Project to supply shelter for the earthquake victims in China’s Sichuan Province, which provided the first foreign-supplied tents to the area.