Awardee Profiles - 2004
Bob Wright, Freedom of Speech Award
Geraldine Laybourne, American Horizon Award
Bob Wright, Recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award
Bob Wright became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal in May 2004, in conjunction with the merger of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment. He joined the National Broadcasting Company as President and Chief Executive Officer on September 1, 1986, and became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on June 4, 2001.
Mr. Wright has had one of the longest and most successful tenures of any media company chief executive. Under his leadership, NBC was transformed from a broadcast network into a media powerhouse with leadership in television programming, station ownership, and television production. With the formation of NBC Universal, Mr. Wright took one of the world's fastest growing and most profitable media and entertainment companies to a global audience. Mr. Wright is also Vice Chairman of the Board of the General Electric Company.
NBC Universal's properties include the No. 1 television network, the fastest growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks.
Mr. Wright has received numerous awards, and has been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. He is a trustee of several organizations, including the American Film Institute, the Museum of television and Radio, and his alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross. He received his LL.B. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Mr. Wright and his wife, Suzanne, live in Connecticut and have three grown children.
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Geraldine Laybourne, Recipient of the American Horizon Award
Geraldine Laybourne founded Oxygen Media and has served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since its inception.
Oxygen Media is a 24-hour cable television network for women that airs a diverse array of original programming. Founded in 1998, the network is available in more than 52 million cable households. Oxygen Media also owns and operates www.oxygen.com.
A pioneer in children's programming, Ms. Laybourne spent 16 years at Nickelodeon, taking over the management of the network in 1984. The following year Ms. Laybourne and her team successfully launched Nick at Nite, the retro sitcom line-up. Prior to starting Oxygen, Ms. Laybourne was President of Disney/ABC Cable Networks from 1996 to 1998.
Ms. Laybourne was ranked No. 1 among the 50 most influential women in the entertainment industry by the Hollywood Reporter in 1996, and named one of the 25 most influential people in America by Time magazine that same year.
In 1995, Ms. Laybourne was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. She has received numerous other awards, and sits on a number of boards and advisory committees.
Ms. Laybourne earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Vassar College (where she currently serves as a trustee) and a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania. a native of Martinsville, N.J., she and her husband, Kit, a producer, author, and animator, have two children.
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