After a three-month search, the National Cable Television Cooperative has selected former Ascent Media executive Richard Fickle as CEO, replacing Jeff Abbas, who resigned in March.
Fickle, a 30-year veteran of the cable industry, most recently served as senior vice president of cable/telco, VOD and TVE services for Deluxe Entertainment, which acquired Ascent's Creative Services and Media Saervices businesses in January 2011. Fickle has been with Ascent since 2001, as senior vice president/general manager of Headend in the Sky (HITS) and Interactive TV for AT&T Broadband, and has extensive experience working with small cable operators.
Based in Lenexa, Kan., the NCTC is essentially a buying cooperative where small operators can band together to buy programming and equipment in bulk. The co-op has more than 900 members representing more than 27 million subscribers.
"I am thrilled to join NCTC and continue my relationship with the members and staff," Fickle said in a statement. "NCTC plays a critical role for many members and I am excited to be part of helping build even more value for the industry in the years to come. I believe there are many opportunities for NCTC to work collaboratively with suppliers and members helping to drive value for all companies as we all face key challenges in the industry."
Fickle's selection ends a three-month search for a CEO after Abbas abruptly resigned in March. New Wave Communications executive vice president and former NCTC board chairman Tom Gleason served as interim CEO while the search for a permanent replacement, led by Denver-based executive search firm Carlsen Resources, was conducted.
"With Rich Fickle's appointment, NCTC is re-energized and ready to tackle the exciting challenges ahead," NCTC chairman and Atlantic Broadband COO Ed Holleran said in a statement. "Rich is a respected and knowledgeable cable industry leader who has the vision and collaborative skills to move NCTC forward and deliver greater value for our members. His long-standing dedication to the interests of smaller cable operators makes him the ideal person for this challenging position."
Fickle, who has an MBA in Finance from the University of Colorado, and a BS in accounting from the University of Denver, officially starts in his new role on July 5.
"We have been fortunate to benefit from two strong leaders during NCTC's 27 years," Gleason said in a statement. "We are confident Rich will lead the NCTC and our members through the many purchasing and business changes and challenges facing independent operators today."
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