It is sometimes difficult for those of us who cover the tech industries to quantify how much of a company’s identity and performance can and should be attributed to its leadership. This is especially true when there is a changing of the guard and one of the leading figures in a market shifts gears a bit, looking to new challenges. Such is the case with the announcement that GENBAND CEO Charlie Vogt has been named the CEO at Harris Broadcast, a portfolio company of The Gores Group and a global supplier of networking, routing and software solutions. His appointment is effective today.
Vogt joins Harris Broadcast following nine years as president and CEO of GENBAND. Under his leadership, GENBAND became an important telecom industry player. Done via a combination of six acquisitions (including Tekelec SSG, NextPoint Networks and Nortel’s VoIP Business), organic innovation, attention to operational integration and a customer focus , GENBAND became No. 1 in VoIP and delivered a compound annual growth rate of about 100 percent during his tenure.
Vogt succeeds Harris Morris, who was appointed president of Harris Broadcast when it was a subsidiary of Harris Corporation in 2010. Morris led the company through its divestiture process and guided the transition period to The Gores Group ownership, including the completion of fiscal year 2013.
“Charlie’s proven track record of taking companies with powerful and promising technology to the next level uniquely positions him to lead this business,” said Carl Vogel, Harris Broadcast Chairman and board member of Dish Network. “His decision to join Harris Broadcast as president and CEO likewise reflects the promise and potential behind the company’s market-leading technology, marquee customers and exceptional employees. Charlie will bring to Harris Broadcast vision, leadership, creativity and operational discipline as well as an entrepreneurial and customer-first culture.”
Vogel added, “The radio and TV broadcasting industry is embarking on a significant transformation from digital to IP. Charlie was a natural choice as his IP domain knowledge and experience gained while assisting global service providers and cable operators transition to IP has uniquely prepared him to lead the company as this industry undergoes a similar trajectory. We thank Harris Morris for his contributions in guiding Harris Broadcast as we acquired the business and transitioned the company to independence – we wish him well as he pursues new opportunities.”
Vogt is taking the helm of Harris Broadcast during a pivotal time in the media sector, and at a time when his knowledge of IP, Internet Protocol as well as the value of intellectual property, along with his ability to sustain growth during transitional times made him a logical choice as Harris Broadcast’s CEO. He is taking charge with a lot of impressive assets which include a substantial patent portfolio, eight Technical and Engineering Emmy Awards and a strategic global support presence in 36 countries. Harris Broadcast solutions have a well respected reputation for enabling radio, television and media networks around the world to compete in today’s multi-format, multichannel and multiplatform market.
“I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about joining Harris Broadcast, especially at a time when broadcasters, cable networks and multi-channel content distributors are experiencing so much change – from the impact of on-demand to content delivery on multiple screens and the digital transition to video and audio over IP,” said Vogt. “I have spent my professional career building businesses, fostering an entrepreneurial culture and introducing disruptive technologies that transform business models. I look forward to leading the Harris Broadcast team to accelerate innovation in areas that will enable the company to experience market-leading growth.”
Vogt added: “Through investments in R&D and strategic acquisitions, Harris has built the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of content management technology. The company is well positioned in the broadcast market with unique capabilities such as combining automation, digital asset management, playout and sales and scheduling into a single solution. These strategic assets form an ideal foundation upon which we will invest and differentiate.”
Vogt’s accomplishments at GENBAND are impressive. The short list includes his expansion of the company to more than 50 countries and the securing of 80 of the top 100 communications service provider and cable operators as customers. In addition, he has been an adviser to the Federal Communications Commission Chairman, and recognized multiple times for his talents. And, in September 2012, The Wall Street Journal named GENBAND the No. 1 privately funded company in America topping a list of 5,900 companies.
Innovative and entrepreneurial are words that have been a hallmark of Vogt’s career, which includes serving as president and CEO of Taqua (an IP switching company acquired by Tekelec in 2004), and stints in high-level positions at ADTRAN, Ascend Communications, Accelerated Networks and Santera Systems. In addition, he has served as chairman of two companies and as a board member of five companies, as well as serving on the board of Telecommunications Industry Association, the Federal Communications Commission Advisory Council and the Dallas Metroplex Technology Business Council. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Computer Science from Saint Louis University, where he also played Division I NCAA baseball.
It may seem like a large leap from telecom to mass media, but having helped start and accelerate the move to IP, as the entire communications industry really is converging with IP emerging as its lingua franca, and where success is going to be based on a combination of industry smarts and operational excellence, the jump from telecom to media is actually not that far.
Given that Vogt isn’t shy about making bold moves that are innovative, disruptive and transformative, there can be little doubt that we will be hearing a lot about Harris Broadcast in the coming months. As the saying goes, “Content is king!” I know from having followed his careers for many years that Vogt is going to make sure that Harris Broadcast is a big factor in making sure the crown rest securely on the company’s solutions in exciting new and profitable ways.
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