Cablevision Realigns Management Team

Cablevision Systems CEO James Dolan announced a realignment of its senior leadership Tuesday and is keeping it mostly in the family, elevating his wife and long-time executive Kristin Dolan to president of Optimum Services and his brother-in-law and MSO veteran Brian Sweeney to senior executive vice president, strategy.

The moves, Cablevision said, are part of an effort to accelerate its transformation into a more customer-focused organization and streamline the day-to-day management decision-making processes. All of the executives will report to James Dolan.

Kristin Dolan, who most recently headed up the Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSOs new marketing and rebranding campaigns as senior executive vice president, product management, marketing and development, will head up Optimum Services. According to the company, in the expanded role she will be responsible for the entire Optimum customer experience as well as the Optimum brand positioning.  In addition to leading all product development and marketing efforts, she now will also oversee the company’s sales initiatives related to Cablevision’s Optimum TV digital cable, Optimum Online high-speed Internet and Optimum Voice products. 

Sweeney, a Cablevision director since 2005 and senior vice president of eMedia at the MSO since 2000, will oversee the corporate strategy function, including the long-term planning process, as well as the company’s key strategic growth initiatives centered on customer retention and acquisition as part of his newly created position. Sweeney, who is  married to James Dolan's sister Deborah Dolan-Sweeney, also will serve as Chief of Staff to the CEO, working closely with the entire executive leadership team.

Long-time Cablevision technology guru Wilt Hildenbrand will become senior advisor – customer care, technology and networks. In this role, he will continue to lead Cablevision’s technology strategy and evolving network architecture, including the development of next-generation consumer systems and technologies.  He will also oversee Cablevision’s customer service and field service organizations, working to develop and implement strategies to ensure a superior customer experience.

“Each of these executives brings more than two decades of experience to these new roles and they have provided exemplary leadership to Cablevision throughout their careers,” James Dolan said in a statement. “As president of Optimum Services, Kristin will draw on her proven leadership capabilities to oversee the day-to-day management of all aspects of our customer acquisition and retention initiatives, while continuing to serve as the Optimum brand steward.   With his sharp operational focus and holistic perspective, I am confident that Brian will drive greater alignment across the company on strengthening our relationship with our customers.  Wilt’s technical expertise and industry knowledge are second to none, and he will be instrumental in ensuring that Cablevision is best equipped to provide our customers with the products they want and service they deserve. 

“Working together, Kristin, Brian, Wilt and the rest of our executive leadership team will help Cablevision to drive further innovation and efficiency across our product portfolio and move us closer to our vision of delivering the highest quality experience to our customers each time they use our products or services.”

The moves come more than a year after Cablevision experienced an executive drain after the abrupt departure of former chief operating officer Tom Rutledge. Shortly after Rutledge resigned in December 2011, several top Cablevision executives left the company, including former marketing EVP Jonathan Hargis, EVP of corporate technology and engineering Jim Blackley and EVP of customer operations Kathleen Mayo.