ACA Gives Polka CEO Post; Seeks COO

The American Cable Association has promoted president Matt Polka, giving him the additional title of CEO, and it is looking to hire a chief operating officer, according to officials.

The ACA -- a lobbying group for small, independent cable operators -- said it is bolstering its staff so that it can ramp up its efforts in Washington, D.C., next year, as Congress starts rewriting telecommunications laws.

The trade group has started a nationwide search to find a COO, who will report to Polka, by year-end.

Polka’s promotion and the ACA’s related staff growth are a direct result of the gains the organization has made and are part of its preparation for battles ahead in Washington, according to ACA chairman Jim Gleason, president of New Wave Communications.

“For the past seven years, Matt has guided the ACA successfully through several complex policy initiatives,” Gleason said in a prepared statement. “Creating a voice for independent cable operators in the regulatory and legislative arenas in Washington has been challenging. The ACA is no longer on the outside looking in. Now the powers that be in Washington are calling the ACA and its members for their views.”

As CEO, Polka will continue to be responsible for the group’s strategic planning, operations and administration, as well as directing all regulatory and legislative policy initiatives.

The COO will oversee the ACA’s communications and staff in Pittsburgh on a day-to-day basis and will work with Polka to implement the group’s political and regulatory strategies.

In effect, creating this new position will give Polka more time to focus on the ACA’s lobbying efforts in Washington and to do more long-range planning.

For the new position, which is actually vice president and COO, the ACA is looking for someone with experience in cable-policy issues, government relations, communications and staff management, with a well-rounded background in the cable industry considered essential.