Disney/ABC’s Vince Roberts to Retire

Vince Roberts, executive VP of global operations and CTO of the Disney/ABC Television Group, has announced that he will retire in January of 2016.

Roberts had been with the company since 1983 for the launch of the Disney Channel and had led the deployment of a number of cutting edge technologies at the company, including its current work to create a cloud-based master control system for ABC.

“Vince is part of the DNA of Disney/ABC, and he will be greatly missed when he departs next year,” said Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group in a statement. “We are all thankful for his insights and his contributions to our success, and we thank him for everything he has done to build Disney/ABC and position it for a successful future.”

Roberts was promoted to his current position in October of 2010 and had received a number of industry awards over the year.

Those included an Emmy for technical achievement for the video coloring process, the Broadcasting & Cable Technology Leadership Award and the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award from the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC @ USC).

He was also active in a number of industry organizations and was Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Fellow.

In recent year’s Roberts has been a vocal proponent of the need to adopt new technologies so that the industry could speed up the pace of innovation and more easily launch new business.

That strategy led to a focus on software, cloud-based and IP technologies, which has helped the companies rapidly expand its digital offerings.

“To say I have been incredibly lucky to have been a part of DATG since the birth of Disney Channel would be an understatement,” said Roberts in a statement. “I’ve had the privilege to work alongside dozens of great leaders and with hundreds of incredibly talented and dedicated people from each of whom I learned so much. Together we have accomplished amazing feats that I would have never dreamed possible when I first arrived at Disney in the 1983.”

Roberts has nine domestic and international patents pending; two have been granted.

In an email to staff, Roberts wrote that “now after nearly 33 years, hundreds of launched networks around the world, and numerous industry leading technology innovations that have pushed the television business forward, I am ready to transition into the next phase of my life – a new chapter that includes spending more time with my family, taking more time photographing America, perhaps teaching and consulting, and most importantly just enjoying each and every day. It is amazing how fast the years have flown by. In fact, it still seems like yesterday that we literally flipped a switch to put one of the most successful television networks in history [the Disney Channel] on the air.”

He also thanked his staff for delivering so much “innovation” to the company and making coming to work “an absolute pleasure.”

In addition, he thanked Ben Sherwood for his “leadership, particularly for his support around this very personal decision of mine to move to the next phase of my life. As mentioned above I will be here in the office through January working to help Ben and the senior team with any transition needs.”