Mediacom Communications founder, chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso joined an elite club Tuesday, becoming one of 22 new entrants to the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans.
Commisso, who founded Mediacom in 1995, placed a very respectable No. 150 overall on the list, which was again peppered with internet billionaires and media moguls. Microsoft founder Bill Gates was No. 1 on the list for the 24th consecutive year, with a total net worth of $89 billion, up $8 billion from the prior year. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos was No. 2, worth $81.5 billion.
Commisso, estimated to be worth $4.5 billion, is the lone cable operator in Forbes's new class of entrepreneurs. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (No. 359, $2.2 billion) was also among the new entrants.
But the overall list had more than its share of media chieftains of much larger companies, like Dish Network chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen (No. 30, $15.8 billion); 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch (No. 39, $12 billion); Liberty Media's John Malone (No. 56, $8.2 billion); Viacom executive chairman Summer Redstone (No. 115, $5.1 billion) and Cablevision founder Charles Dolan (No. 118, $5 billion).
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Commisso has grown Mediacom from a single cable system in California to the fifth largest operator in the country, with more than 800,000 video subscribers. He has supported several educational causes, and has been a generous backer of his alma mater Columbia University, which named its soccer field after him in 2013. In January, Commisso purchased the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, and has been an avid fan and supporter of U.S. soccer. He was part of the anti-trust suit filed against U.S. soccer’s governing body, the United States Soccer Federation – last month.
But according to the Forbes article, Commisso's mind continues to be focused on Mediacom.
"All the guys that are on the Forbes 400, we're married to our businesses,” Commisso told the magazine.