Few jobs in cable are as tough, complicated and thankless as that of the regional MSO executive. Every region has its quirky nuances: Unique customers to please, local news media to navigate and of course local, regional and state politicians whose goodwill can make or break a product launch or service change. Not only that, but regional execs often spend years bouncing from system to system to gain the experience necessary to manage several of them all at once—not to mention the corporate acumen to “manage up” to the corporate office and get the resources necessary to compete on the ground. Few can do this job. And few do it quite as well as Amy Smith, our 2014 MSO Regional Executive of the Year.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Smith so valuable to Comcast, which unlike many other large MSOs has placed upon its regional execs’ shoulders considerable autonomy and P&L accountability. But Comcast has long relied on Smith’s incredible skills and dedication. As regional SVP for Comcast’s Florida Region, Smith now runs the company’s largest division with responsibility for more than 2 million customers, a gig she took on in 2012 after proving herself as head of the Freedom Region that includes the corporate headquarters in Philadelphia (Yes, Brian Roberts was one of her customers. Talk about pressure).
But Smith consistently knocks every new challenge out of the park. “Amy has continued to take on the most challenging assignments at the request of the company and has delivered results every time,” says Bill Connors, president of Comcast Cable’s Central Division. “I believe Amy is one of the most impressive leaders I have been fortunate enough to work with in my career.”
Few are anything but dazzled by Smith’s penchant for managing complicated markets, launching new products and growing market share no matter what the competitive threat. In Florida, for example, both Verizon and AT&T compete vigorously in dozens of markets, including Jacksonville, Miami and Orlando—but Smith consistently grows market share for Xfinity Home while also exceeding cash flow goals and other targets. “I really think that’s one of the strengths we have at Comcast,” says Smith. “Local leadership is close to the customers and can really get things done.” Also helpful are the deep relationships she forged at HQ while running the Freedom Region. “I can see what’s happening and then go back to corporate and say ‘this is what I need’,” she says.
One recent achievement is the conversion of Comcast’s Florida payment centers into state-of-the-art Xfinity stores that vastly improved the customer experience. In fact, she did such a great job revamping those locations that the stores saw a whopping 70% increase in sales over 2012, all while reducing wait times and staffing levels, and giving prospects a way to touch and feel Comcast’s newest wares such as the X1 set-top navigation system. “It’s a completely different experience,” she says. “People can hands-on try the products out. People get even more excited when they experience [X1] firsthand.” Not only that, but Smith also managed the expansion of the Multi-Latino Package for Hispanic audiences, an upgrade that added 32 channels to the multi-Latino tier. Meanwhile, in 2013, the Florida Region led the country for the first time in new connections for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program aimed at bringing broadband to low-income households.
The bottom line: Smith just seems to make it look easy. “Amy has a deep understanding and appreciation for the operations side of our business and this has been a critical component in her success in delivering results for the company,” says Paul Biava, VP, Ful_ llment Operations, Comcast Florida. Add Cablefax to Amy Smith’s growing fanbase…
In 2013, Comcast Florida doubled its Internet speeds at no
When not taking on telcos and satellite companies, Smith
competes as an accomplished equestrienne.
Smith first joined Comcast in 1994 as a Business Manager
in Charleston, SC.