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James O. Robbins - 2019 Bresnan Award Honoree

jim robbins bresnan award 2019

President and Chief Executive Officer
Cox Communications, Inc.

Jim Robbins joined Cox in 1983 and was named president in 1985. He added CEO to his title in 1995. During his leadership, Cox quadrupled its size and led the industry on many issues, including sports rights. He retired from Cox at the end of 2005. Following his retirement, he was elected a member of the Cox Enterprises board of directors, and served on C-SPAN’s Executive Committee.

Prior to Cox, Jim spent five years at Continental Cablevision, as Assistant Vice President and Regional Manager and then as Vice President and General Manager, Viacom Cablevision of Long Island, and then Senior Vice President of Operations, Western Region.

He served twice as chairman of the Internet & Television Association (NCTA) and won multiple awards, including the industry’s Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership. He is a member of the Cable Hall of Fame class of 2006.

Jim passed away on Oct. 10, 2007 at age 65. Jim is survived by his wife, Debby Robbins; their daughters Jane Brooks Robbins, Payson Robbins Murray, and Hilary Robbins Thomas.

Cox Communications President Pat Esser said, “Jim was such a positive influence in our industry and personally to so many of us at Cox. There was no one like him and hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t recount a Jim anecdote or special memory. He led the company to great success, but it is how he led that we remember most. To employees, customers, and colleagues, he was always genuine and giving and that’s what makes him so deserving of this recognition.” On the personal side, Jim was a trustee of The Westminster Schools in Atlanta. He served as chairman of the Policy Holders Examining Committee of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. He also served on the Board of Directors of Humana Inc., the Advisory Board of Forstmann Little & Company, Board of Trustees of STI Classic Funds, and was president of the board of trustees at his alma mater St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H.

Jim also devoted much of his time to charitable causes – he was a past chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (his daughter Payson is diabetic), testifying before Congress in 2001 for additional research and funding.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in American Studies, Jim also holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University. Jim participated in the NCAA golf tournament while a student at the University of Pennsylvania, where he won 33 out of 36 golf matches. Additionally, he was a member of the Penn club hockey team throughout college, and later served as a high school hockey coach. Robbins was also a recreational golfer and enjoyed snow skiing. The father of three daughters, he was actively involved with and an ardent supporter of women’s athletics.

Robbins was also a veteran, serving as a destroyer line officer and a gunboat flotilla public affairs officer during two tours of duty with the U.S. Navy in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967.

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