CableLabs Recruits Tech ‘Guru’ McKinney


CableLabs — thinking outside the cable
box — has picked self-styled technology innovation guru
Phil McKinney to take the helm at the industry’s R&D

McKinney previously was chief technology officer of
Hewlett-Packard’s personal systems group, a post he relinquished
last December. He replaces
Paul Liao, the former Panasonic CTO
who has led the laboratory since June
2009. Liao cited “personal reasons” in
announcing last fall that he would not
renew his contract, set to expire this

McKinney, 51, has held technology
leadership positions in various companies.
Dubbed “The Innovation
Guru” by Vanity Fair, he more recently
has developed a career as an author,
speaker and columnist on technology
topics and trends — delivering more
than 100 talks or workshops per year,
according to his biography.

McKinney started as CableLabs’
president and CEO effective June 1. He
will split his time between the consortium’s headquarters
in Louisville, Colo., and San Francisco.

Cable operators may see McKinney “as able to come
from an outsider technologist perspective to help the industry
define needs and roles for the evolution of services,”
Parks Associates principal analyst Kurt Scherf said.

Given McKinney’s experience at HP, “he will definitely
raise the profile and perception of CableLabs beyond a
standards and certification body to one that really acts as
an incubator for new cable technologies,” Infonetics Research
directing analyst for broadband access and video
Jeff Heynen said.

At HP, McKinney was vice president
and CTO in the personal
systems group, where he was
responsible for long-range strategic
planning and research and development
for all of the company’s
personal-computer product lines.
He has also served as senior VP and
chief information officer at Teligent,
and director at information-technology
consulting firm CSC.

Comcast Cable president and
CEO Neil Smit, who also is vice
chairman of the CableLabs board,
said in a statement: “As the pace
of innovation continues to accelerate,
we’re excited to have a leader
like Phil, who has broad experience that spans multiple
industries and technologies, and a vision that will continue
to move our industry forward.”

A CableLabs spokeswoman said McKinney was not
available for an interview last week.

McKinney recently published his first book, Beyond the
, which is billed as “a practical guide to consistently
generating innovation.”

McKinney serves on the board of directors for The
Computer History Museum and on the executive board
of the Santa Clara (Calif.) County Council of the Boy
Scouts of America. He also serves on the advisory board
for Hacking Autism, a group focused on developing technologies
for children on the autistic spectrum.

Regarding Liao’s tenure at CableLabs, Time Warner
Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt, who also is the
consortium’s chairman, said in the statement: “We appreciate
Paul’s leadership and his many contributions to

He has led the industry’s technological innovation during
three years of incredible change, and his impact will
be felt for years to come.”

The CableLabs CEO search was conducted by David
Archambault, a partner with Sausalito, Calif.-based executive-
search firm Bialla & Associates.