The National Cable Television Cooperative, the buying group that represents more than 700 small and medium-sized broadband and cable operators across the country, said it has named industry veteran Lou Borrelli as its new CEO, replacing Rich Fickle who earlier this year said he would retire after about 10 years at the helm. Borrelli’s appointment is effective June 1.
A highly respected executive, Borrelli has 43 years experience in the industry, dating back to Marcus Cable, where he was a founding partner. Borrelli was inducted into the Cable Center’s Cable Pioneers in 2002 and most recently served as CEO of Home and Entertainment for Digicel Group, which provides mobile phone, cable and broadband service to 27 countries in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Fickle told NCTC members in March that he would step down this year, ending a decade at the organization, which helps smaller operators buy equipment, programming and negotiate retransmission consent agreements with broadcasters, as a group. At the time he said he felt the organization needed “new blood” to help it enter its next stage.
Borrelli brings a fresh perspective to the organization, as an owner and operator of small systems in second and third tier markets.
In a press release, NCTC chairman Brad Mefferd said the organization’s board looked across the country, with the help of search firm Carlsen Resources, for Fickle’s replacement, adding that Borrelli “is the right leader, at the right time for the organization and our members.”
“We are thrilled to have a CEO of his caliber leading the organization. He is a proven industry veteran with a distinguished track record of innovation, transformation, talent development and a deep and wide knowledge of the industry,” Medford continued. “He will continue to build on the values-based cultural leadership and approach, and the hyper-focus on serving members that has been the NCTC’s hallmark since its inception. Throughout his career, Lou has harnessed technology advancements to drive new products and revenues, customer acquisition and retention and has led his teams with passion, creativity and integrity. We couldn’t be happier.”
Borrelli joins the organization as the industry is yet again experiencing a transformation, this time as streaming video and broadband dominate the landscape. The NCTC has kept up with the times, offering guidance and information as its members make that transition, as well as helping them navigate traditional avenues like retransmission consent negotiations.
“I have tremendous respect for the NCTC’s rich history, charter and members,” Borrelli said in the press release. “This organization has significant potential to continue to reshape and reinvent the future of independent cable operators for years to come. I look forward to working with the incredibly talented NCTC team, our board, our members and the industry at large to accelerate innovation and create value for our members and their customers. This is a circle of life moment for me.”
Mefferd thanked Fickle for his contributions to the organization, adding that he will help during the transition phase and will continue to play a role in key projects, including the MobiTV/TiVo project on behalf of NCTC members.
In a statement, ACA Connects CEO Matt Polka welcomed Borrelli and looked forward to the organizations' continued collaborative partnership.
“I look forward to working with Lou, and I am positive ACAC and NCTC will quickly come to appreciate his vast knowledge of our sector and his creative approaches to solving the tough problems that inevitably lie ahead," Polka said in the statement. "Welcome aboard, Lou. We can’t wait to begin our important work together!"
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.
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