WideOpenWest CEO Colleen Abdoulah has been appointed chairwoman of the American Cable Association. Robert Gessner, president of Massillon Cable TV, was appointed ACA vice chairman.
The ACA also appointed four new board members:
- James Beattie, assistant general counsel of Bevcomm
- Bryan Cipoletti, chief financial officer at Armstrong Holdings
- Earle MacKenzie, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Shentel
- Scott Widham, CEO and founder of CoBridge Communications
Abdoulah, a board member since 2008, had been vice chair since the ACA Summit in March. She succeeds Wave Broadband chief operating officer Steve Friedman, who had been chairman since 2008. Friedman will remain on the ACA's board of directors.
Abdoulah will act as ACA's leading advocate for the small, independent cable community before Congress, the FCC and the Obama administration. Abdoulah has a solid track record in support of ACA's political agenda at all levels of American government.
She was the 2010 recipient of the ACA PAC Individual Leadership Award, which recognized her enthusiasm, dedication and support for the ACA PAC and for inspiring her company colleagues to recognize the ACA PAC's important role and purpose.
"I want to thank the ACA board for the trust it has placed in me at such a critical moment for the independent cable community. Whether the issue is retransmission consent, Universal Service Fund reform or open Internet rules, my objective is to see that ACA receives the best strategic advice and that the board and ACA staff work to implement that advice to advance the interests of all ACA members and the millions of consumers that we serve," Abdoulah said.
Friedman said: "I know I am leaving the association in wonderful hands under our new chairwoman, who is totally committed to producing favorable policy outcomes for our members," Friedman said. "She deserves special praise for her support in identifying the harms associated with the Comcast-NBCU merger when she testified before three U.S. Congressional Committees in 2010."
ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka said he looks forward to working with Chairwoman Abdoulah on ACA's increasingly complex public policy agenda before the FCC and Congress.
"Colleen is a very strong and talented executive, and I greatly value her judgment and willingness to devote so much executive time to the cause of the independent cable community. I congratulate her on being appointed our new chairwoman and greatly anticipate getting started on the many challenges that lie ahead of us," Polka said.
Gessner, who joined the ACA board in July 2010, has been an influential voice on a range of policy and technology issues, along with being a very active ACA member in developing grassroots relationships with thought leaders in business and politics in his northeast Ohio community.
"In the past year, Bob Gessner has made tremendous contributions to ACA, especially in offering key advice on such issues as CALM Act implementation," Polka said.