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WOW! CEO Colleen Abdoulah Appointed ACA Chairwoman

Colleen Abdoulah, Chairwoman & CEO of WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone, has been appointed Chairwoman of the American Cable Association, the trade group's highest leadership position held since 2008 by Wave Broadband Chief Operating Officer Steve Friedman, who will continue serving on ACA's Board of Directors. Robert Gessner, President Massillon Cable TV, was appointed ACA Vice Chairman.

"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.

Abdoulah, a respected industry executive with long leadership experience, was appointed July 24 by the ACA Board at its third quarter meeting in San Francisco ahead of the 6th Independent Cable Show, a leading industry forum that is annually co-hosted and jointly organized by ACA and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), a Lenexa, Kansas-based group that purchases programming and equipment for U.S. cable operators.

Gessner was appointed to the No. 2 position along with the selection of four new Board members, who will contribute decades of industry knowledge and experience to the trade group's mission of serving small and mid-size cable operators that provide high-quality communications services to hometown America.

Friedman -- who made retransmission consent reform his signature issue in an effort that yielded release of the Federal Communications Commission's rulemaking last March -- handed the gavel to Abdoulah at the conclusion of the Board meeting accompanied by words of praise and encouragement for his successor.

"I know I am leaving the association in wonderful hands under our new Chairwoman Colleen Abdoulah, 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 M. Polka said he looked 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 as issues as CALM Act implementation," Polka said.

In her new leadership role, Abdoulah will act as ACA's leading advocate for the small, independent cable community before Congress, the FCC and the Obama Administration. Abdoulah became ACA Vice Chairman in April, 2011, just prior to the 18th ACA Summit in Washington, D.C. She joined the ACA Board in October, 2008.

Abdoulah has a solid track record in support of ACA's political agenda at all levels of American government. In 2010, she appeared three times before Congress to communicate ACA's concerns with the Comcast-NBC Universal merger then pending before the FCC and the Department of Justice. Many of her recommendations became regulatory conditions applied to that unprecedented $30 billion transaction.

Abdoulah 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.

Following are ACA's newest board members:

  • James L. Beattie, Assistant General Counsel, Bevcomm
  • Bryan Cipoletti, Chief Financial Officer, Armstrong Holdings
  • Earle MacKenzie, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Shentel
  • Scott Widham, CEO and Founder, CoBridge Communications

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