Rocco B. Commisso

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Rocco B. Commisso
Rocco B. Commisso.jpg
Occupation Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mediacom Communications Corporation

Rocco B. Commisso (born November 25, 1949) is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mediacom Communications Corporation, the 5th largest cable television company in the United States.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Calabria, Italy, Commisso immigrated to the United States at age 12. He attended Mount Saint Michael Academy high school in the Bronx in 1967. He attended Columbia University on a full undergraduate scholarship where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 1971. He also earned a master’s degree in Business Administration in 1975 from Columbia Business School. He was co-captain of Columbia’s varsity soccer team; elected president of the business school student body; and was the recipient of the prestigious Business School Service Award.

In 2004, on the 250th anniversary of Columbia’s founding, the school’s newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, listed Commisso among Columbia’s 250 greatest undergraduate alumni of all time.[1] The school of business also recognized him as a Select Distinguished Alumni.[2]

Mediacom highlights[edit]

Commisso is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of Mediacom Communications Corporation, a company he founded in 1995 in the basement of his home to acquire and reinvigorate cable systems in the nation’s underserved smaller communities. Together with his dedicated management team, Rocco took Mediacom public in 2000[3] and engineered its dramatic growth into the nation’s 8th largest cable operator, with current annual revenues of over $1.6 billion. In March 2011, the company went private, and is now wholly owned by Commisso.[4] Operating from its newly completed headquarters[5] in Blooming Grove, N.Y.,[6] and with 4,700 employees in 22 states, Mediacom is the leading provider of advanced broadband services to 1.3 million customers in 1,500 small cities and towns across America.

Under his guidance, Mediacom has been recognized for outstanding achievements including the nation’s best cable company of 2009 by CableFAX magazine,[7] and named by Deloitte Technology Fast 500 as one of North America's 500 Fastest Growing Technology Companies of 2003.[8]

Commisso serves on the board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association,[9] C-SPAN[10] and Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.[11] He is also a member of the Cable TV Pioneers.[12] Commisso is the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award,[13] the Innovator Award for Business Strategy from Cablevision magazine[14] and the National Italian American Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.[15] In 2007, he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.[16] In 2008, he served as Co-Chair of the Cable Show staged in New Orleans, the industry’s premier annual event.[17] In 2009, Commisso was presented with the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership,[18] the cable industry’s highest honor. In 2010, he was welcomed into the SUNY New Paltz School of Business Hall of Fame and named Business Person of the Year.[19] In June 2011, Commisso was inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame.[20]

Early career[edit]

Commisso began his business career at Pfizer Inc.’s manufacturing facility in Brooklyn, New York in 1971. After graduating from business school in 1975, he spent a decade in the financial community, initially at Chase Manhattan Bank (now J.P. Morgan Chase) and later at Royal Bank of Canada, where he led the bank’s U.S. lending activities to companies in the media and communications sectors. From 1986 to 1995, he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Cablevision Industries Corporation. During his tenure there, privately held Cablevision Industries grew from the 25th to the 8th largest cable company in the nation, serving over 1.3 million customers at the time of its merger with Time Warner.


Commisso played soccer for the Columbia University Lions in the 1967–1970 period. He is a three time All-Ivy League Honoree.[21] In 1967, Commisso was a member of a freshman squad that finished with an undefeated record of 8-0. Commisso served as co-captain of the 1970 team that went 9-4-0 and made Columbia’s first ever appearance in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament.[22]

Throughout his college soccer career, Commisso was cited numerous times for his skill and leadership[23][24][25][26][27] culminating in an invitation to try out for the USA Soccer Team organized for the 1972 Olympics.

Commisso has been an active contributor to Columbia men’s soccer program for over 40 years. From 1978 to 1986, he was Chairman of Friends of Columbia Soccer. Presently, Columbia awards an Annual Men’s Soccer Prize in his name.[28] On October 12, 2013, Columbia University named its soccer venue at the school’s Baker Athletics Complex as the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.[29]