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Robbins to retire, Esser to elevate

Tue, 07/26/2005 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Cox Communications said Wednesday that President & CEO James Robbins will retire at year-end. Succeeding him is Patrick Esser, who has been promoted from EVP and COO to president.

Robbins has served in the top spot at Cox since 1985, quadrupling the size of the company during his tenure. Cox, the third-largest MSO in the U.S., went private late last year.

"Jim leaves a legacy of dedication and service excellence for Cox Communications' next generation of leadership," said James Kennedy, chairman of the board of Cox Communications and chairman & CEO of Cox Enterprises. "I'm happy that he will continue to make himself available to consult with the company on key strategic issues."

Esser, 48, launched his cable career in 1979 as a field tech and salesman with McDonald Group's cable system in Waterloo, Iowa. He joined Cox later that year as director of programming for the MSO's Hampton Roads, Va., system. In 1981, he was part of the team that launched Cox's local advertising sales division, CableRep Advertising. He also co-founded the Product Information Network (PIN).

"This company is in very good shape, and Pat is a great choice for accelerating the momentum we've built the past few years," Robbins said, in a release. "His leadership is defined by his deep knowledge of the company and industry, his strategic sensibilities and his personal integrity. I wish him the very best as he continues making his mark at Cox."

In other executive moves, the company has promoted Jimmy Hayes to executive vice president of Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications. Additionally, at year-end, Hayes, who most recently was EVP and chief financial officer of Cox Communications, will replace Dennis Berry as president and COO of Cox Enterprises. Berry will become vice chairman of Cox Enterprises, succeeding David Easterly, who is retiring but remaining on the board.

Under his new role, Hayes will head up Cox Communications, Manheim, Cox Newspapers, Cox Television, Cox Radio, AutoTrader.com, as well as finance, administration and businesses development.

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