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Deals and Dealmaking: Capitalizing on the Media Revolution

2015 Speakers

 Tim Armstrong  Donna Gigliotti       Rick Mandler  Rich Ross
 Jim Bankoff  Irwin Gotlieb  Joe Marchese  Michael Roth
 Lionel Barber  Cory Haik  Brent Montgomery  Tom Rothman
 Peter Benedek  Steve Hasker  James Murdoch  Emmett Shear
 Frank A. Bennack, Jr.    Jon Heller  Jennifer Nason  Steve Swartz
 Andy Bird  Mike Hopkins  Joe Ripp     Marni Walden
 Jonathan Bokor  Reza Izad  Andrew Robertson  John Waller
 Bob Bowman     David Levy  Dan Rose  
 Melissa Brenner     Mark Lieberman  Jane Rosenthal  
 Claudio Chiaromonte   Simon Lowden    
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2015 Moderators

 Marc Brodherson      
 Frank Cooper III      
 Richard Greenfield      
 Chris Pantoya      
 Nancy Peretsman       
 Mark Robichaux      
 Stephanie Ruhle      
 Cristiana Falcone      
 Lawrence Shire      
 Hannah Storm      
 David Zaslav      
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Rich Ross
Group President, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Science Channel

Rich Ross serves as Group President of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel and oversees all creative and brand strategy, development, production, marketing and day-to-day operations for all three networks. Ross is based in Los Angeles and reports to David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications.

Ross earlier served as President of Discovery Channel. During his tenure, Discovery set records in a wide range of demos including millennials, core viewers, women, kids, and families, most recently in 2015 as Discovery delivered its best summer on record. Also in 2015, Ross led the network to its highest rated SHARK WEEK, its best second quarter during 2Q15 and its best quarter ever during 1Q15. NAKED AND AFRAID XL stands as the #1 unscripted freshman series on cable for 2015 to date.   >Before joining Discovery, Ross served as CEO of Shine America, where he drove the ongoing commercial strategy of US operations.  He oversaw all aspects of production, distribution and marketing of original programming across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, including such programs as MasterChef and MasterChef Junior (FOX) and Peabody Award-winning The Bridge (FX).

Prior to joining Shine America, Ross had a successful career at The Walt Disney Company from 1996 to 2012, most recently in the role as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios from 2009-2012, where he oversaw worldwide production, distribution and marketing for the company’s range of live-action and feature-animated film labels, including Walt Disney, Disney-Pixar and Marvel, and worked with leading filmmakers and focused on branded content.

Earlier, Ross served as president of Disney Channels Worldwide from 2004-2009, where he managed the unprecedented growth and success of the company's global television and radio portfolio for kids, including six brands and more than 70 kids TV channels around the world. His focus was on creating top-quality content for global consumption by kids and families on multiple platforms; on expanding the business around the world; and strengthening franchise opportunities for other divisions at The Walt Disney Company.  Under Ross's leadership, Disney Channel delivered basic cable TV's top two scripted telecasts of all time in Total Viewers and cable TV's top two telecasts ever among Kids 6-11 and Tweens (2007's High School Musical 2" and 2009's "Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie" -- the latter was finally unseated in 2014). A Disney Channel Original Movie was basic cable TV's #1 movie with Kids 6-11 and/or Tweens 9-14 from 2002-09.  In addition, Ross launched a string of hit series that helped define a generation for kids and families including "Lizzie McGuire," "Even Stevens," "That's So Raven," "Hannah Montana," "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," "Wizards of Waverly Place,"  "The Proud Family" and "Phineas and Ferb." Prior to his global role as president, Ross was Disney Channel president, entertainment from 2002-2004, General Manager and Executive Vice President, programming and production from 1999-2002, and Senior Vice President, programming and production, from 1996-1999.

Prior to his tenure at Disney, Ross was Senior Vice President, Development and Production for FX Networks from 1993-1996, where he was a member of the executive team that launched the cable network.  Ross began his career at Nickelodeon, rising to the role of VP of Program Enterprises.  He holds a JD from Fordham University and a bachelor of arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Among his industry and philanthropic affiliations, Ross serves on the Board of Trustees for AFI and on the Board of Directors of the Fulfillment Fund.


Michael Roth
Chairman and CEO, Interpublic Group

Michael I. Roth is Chairman and CEO of Interpublic (NYSE: IPG), one of the world's largest organizations of advertising and marketing services companies. Prior to serving in his current role, Roth was a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

Since assuming leadership of Interpublic in 2005, Roth has righted the company’s financial course and moved to make it an industry leader by defining new models that provide value to clients in a rapidly-changing media and marketing environment.

Prior to his current role, Roth was Chairman and CEO of The MONY Group Inc., a financial services holding company that provides a wide range of protection, asset accumulation and retail brokerage products and services through its member companies. Under Roth's leadership, The MONY Group diversified its business mix, broadened its distribution channels and enhanced its ability to compete in today's financial services marketplace.

Roth is a member of the Board of Directors for Pitney Bowes Inc., the Ad Council and Ryman Hospitality Properties.  He sits on the Leadership Committee of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; the Board of Directors of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). In addition, he is a Director of The Baruch College Fund and The Partnership for New York City. He is also a member of the Business Roundtable.

A certified public accountant, Roth holds an L.L.M. degree from New York University Law School and a J.D. from Boston University Law School. He is a 1967 graduate of the City College of New York. 

Tom Rothman
Chairman, Sony Picture Entertainment's Motion Picture Group

Thomas E. Rothman is Chairman of Sony Picture Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group.  In that role, Rothman oversees the studio’s motion picture activities worldwide as well as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Rothman joined the studio in late 2013 as Chairman of TriStar Productions.  Rothman continues for the near term to oversee the label and its slate of films, which includes Ricki and the Flash, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Money Monster, and The Walk.
Rothman served as Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, part of Fox Entertainment Group Inc., a media company and subsidiary of News Corp., from 2000 to 2005 and as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 2005 to 2013. During his time at Fox, he oversaw all of that studio’s filmmaking operations and, starting in 2009, Twentieth Century Fox Television. Many of those years set profit records for Fox, and Rothman’s track record includes the two highest grossing films in cinematic history, Titanic and Avatar; over $40 billion in worldwide box office; and, more than 150 Academy Award® nominations.
From 1995 to 2000, he held various positions of increasing responsibility at Fox. In 1994, Rothman founded and served as President of Fox Searchlight Pictures. Prior to that, he served as President of Worldwide Production for the Samuel Goldwyn Company from 1989 to 1994, and Executive Vice President of Columbia Pictures from 1987 to 1989.  Rothman was an associate and then partner with the law firm of Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz from 1982 to 1987.
Rothman is a member of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute and the American Film Institute (emeritus). He also serves on the Board of Brown University, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and the Priceline Group.

Emmett Shear
Founder and CEO, Twitch

Emmett Shear is founder and CEO of Twitch (, the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers. Mr. Shear is also a part-time partner at venture capital firm Y Combinator, where he advises fledgling startups on product and strategy. Prior to launching Twitch in 2011, he co-founded its predecessor in 2007. Mr. Shear graduated from Yale University in 2005 with a degree in computer science and in 2012 was included in Forbes Magazine’s annual 30 under 30 list.

Steve Swartz
President and CEO, Hearst

Steven R. Swartz became president and chief executive officer of Hearst on June 1, 2013. Before his promotion to CEO, Swartz, a member of the Board of Directors of Hearst Corporation and a trustee of The Hearst Family Trust, was president and chief operating officer.

He was president of Hearst Newspapers, the operating group responsible for Hearst’s newspapers, local digital marketing services businesses and directories, from 2009 to 2011, and executive vice president of the Group from 2001 to 2008. Hearst Newspapers, with more than 4,700 employees across the nation, publishes 15 dailies and 34 weeklies in cities including Houston, San Francisco, San Antonio and Albany. It also operates digital marketing services and directories businesses under the LocalEdge brand.

Before joining Hearst in 2001, Swartz was president and chief executive of SmartMoney, the magazine, website and custom publishing business launched by Hearst and News Corp.'s Dow Jones unit. Prior to becoming CEO in 1995, he had been the magazine's founding editor since 1991. Under his leadership, SmartMoney magazine won two National Magazine Awards and was Advertising Age’s Magazine of the Year.

Swartz began his journalism career as a reporter with The Wall Street Journal in 1984 after graduating from Harvard. He served as an editor on the Journal's Page One staff from 1989 to 1991. Swartz is a member of the ESPN board of directors and is a director of the Associated Press. He is also a member of the board of visitors of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a member of the board of directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and chairman of the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund.

Marni Walden
Executive Vice President, and President of Product Innovation and New Businesses, Verizon

Marni Walden is executive vice president and president of Product Innovation and New Businesses. She is responsible for developing and growing Verizon’s emerging businesses, like the Internet of Things and digital media, and telematics. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing the company’s Strategy Development and Planning group.

Before being named to her current position in February 2015, she was executive vice president and president - product and new business innovation, in charge of a companywide organization focused on leveraging all of Verizon’s assets to quickly develop innovative products across the company’s wireless, wireline, IP and cloud networks and platforms.

Previously, Walden was executive vice president and chief operating officer for Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless company in the United States, with responsibility for the company's nationwide operations and delivery of industry-leading performance for consumer and business customers.

Earlier, she was Verizon Wireless’ vice president and chief marketing officer, responsible for all marketing initiatives and the management and development of mobile products and services. This included brand management, media buying, agency management and website integration across the entire company.

Walden also has served as president of Verizon Wireless’ Midwest area, responsible for operations spanning 15 states. In addition she has served as president of the company’s Southern California region, president of the Desert Mountain region, and as branch director for AirTouch Cellular in Colorado and Wyoming. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Chico State.

John Waller
Founder, Waller Capital Partners

John Waller founded Waller Capital Partners in 1982 and has built the Firm into one of the most successful and influential independent investment banks on Wall Street.

John began his career as a finance executive at Time Inc. Early on, he developed an excellent understanding of the interrelationship between cable television and other media and communications sectors. In 1978, he was selected to help manage the early development of Time’s revolutionary, new programming channel, Home Box Office. At HBO, John worked with entrepreneurial cable operators, and quickly recognized the value he could offer to these owners by providing them a connection to Wall Street. He realized that the industry’s upcoming consolidation would require larger and more sophisticated financial transactions, and founded Waller Capital to provide a bridge between entrepreneurial cable owners and New York’s larger capital sources.

Almost immediately, John’s new firm was successful in its mission. John and his team initiated the creation of billions of dollars of value by raising start-up capital for new cable operators, identifying acquisitions and sources of new growth capital, and selling the assets to larger, strategic operators when the owners were ready to exit. Since then, Waller Capital has completed more than 500 transactions valued in excess of $50 billion. The firm is consistently ranked as one of the most active advisors in telecom, including being ranked #1 by volume in communications M&A for 2009 to 2014.

In addition to developing Waller Capital into the most active and experienced cable investment bank on Wall Street, John has led Waller Capital Partners into new areas. In 1997, he was a founding partner of private equity fund Waller-Sutton Media Partners. In addition, he has successfully recruited some of the most experienced Wall Street executives to help grow Waller Capital’s practice into other areas of telecommunications, media and technology. As these sectors continue their convergence, John has seen the cable and media companies at the core of his network evolve into major players in digital media and technology. His relationships with senior executives across many of the largest companies in these sectors have proved to be invaluable to the firm’s expansion. John’s leadership and wide-reaching relationships have enabled Waller Capital to broaden the strategic opportunities available to its clients.
John was awarded the NCTA’s Vanguard Award in 1997 and elected as a Cable TV Pioneer in 2004. He earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia.

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