Woody Hutton may be one of the most important cable execs you’ve never heard of.

Despite being Insight’s SVP of operations, he’s too modest to grab headlines. In fact, the 25-year cable vet shuns the spotlight. Even at Insight "he prefers to just get the job done and is reluctant to accept well-deserved praise for his efforts," SVP Sandy Colony tells us.

So it’s not surprising to hear that when Insight wanted to present Hutton with The President’s Award, the company’s highest honor, Woody said no. Cable operations is a team sport, Woody insisted. Insight wisely agreed. The MSO ended up presenting the trophy to Woody’s entire team.

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Woody had a similar attitude about being named our Regional Executive of the Year. "I feel Insight’s success comes from our 3,000 employees," he says. "It’s very hard to say that any one person was an overwhelming factor in delivering our results." Perhaps. But we still feel Woody and his team are deserving. Its growth across the board last year prompted us to give Insight serious consideration for MSO of the Year honors for an unprecedented second consecutive year. What makes Hutton our top executive is how much Insight endured to achieve its ’08 numbers. It’s a story of almost biblical proportions, although knowing Woody, he would downplay it.

First, Insight was a divided system, having split off a hunk of its operation from Comcast in January 2008. Also split was Insight’s infrastructure. Add to that the sluggish economy. Unemployment in Insight’s footprint rose above the national average. Want more? How about what Woody calls "the biggest challenge of the year," Hurricane Ike, the third-most devastating storm to make U.S. landfall? The result was structural damage, prolonged power outages and 200 people killed. We won’t even mention rising competition from the telcos. Despite what Woody calls an "all hands on deck" situation "for an extended period," Q4 saw Insight gain a record number of telephone connects.

On top of this, or perhaps because of it, Insight decided that operating its trio of systems would best be handled by just one SVP. You guessed it, the SVP chosen for the job was Woody. His reward? Operational responsibility for Insight’s entire footprint (760K subs) and 2K people reporting to him.

How does the story end? For the numbers click here, where a sidebar pays tribute to Insight’s 5% increase in basic subs, not to mention its 14 consecutive quarters of growth. Impressive indeed, but just another day at work for Woody Hutton.

Fast Facts

  • Insight gained 72,500 customers in high-speed data in 2008.

  • Hutton has 2,000 people reporting to him and operational responsibility for 760K Insight subs.

  • The MSO’s ’08 increases of 89K subs for phone and 59K for digital video were the highest net gains in its history.

 

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