Handshake Deals, 'Ugly’ Golf Swings, Brutal Honesty

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• “Of the number of people I have been privileged to hire and that I am proud of, Jim is at the top of my list. He was a great representative for the cable industry in Washington, D.C. But his most significant contribution to the industry has been in the way he ran Cox. His attention to customer needs, interests and service standards stand alone.” — Amos Hostetter, principal, PH Investments LLC and former chairman, Continental Cablevision Inc.

• “Jim might be the last of the old breed of cable operators by doing deals with handshakes. Today the business is so complicated and competitive. The lines between competitors and friends are more blurred. But you can still take Jim’s hand and know you have a good deal. He is straightforward and deals get done the way he says they’ll get done.” — Andy Heller, president of domestic distribution, Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

• “Jim learned early on that people were more important than the job.” — Debby Robbins, Jim Robbins’s wife.

• “What sets Jim apart is the fact that he has always known what would appeal to consumers. He has always had the consumer in mind when he makes business decisions. He understood that consumers would like [and] what we were trying to do with Discovery. Jim always saw things from the people side, which at Cox led to great customer service and the introduction of new services and the triple play. He will be missed. He has been such a strong member of NCTA’s board. He’s such an eloquent speaker on Capitol Hill. He could always speak in terms they could understand.” — John Hendricks, chairman, Discovery Communications Inc.

• “I have a special regard and reverence for Jim Robbins. He was one of the reasons I decided to come into the cable industry. I regard Jim as one of my mentors. He is a gentleman. It may sound trite but it’s absolutely true. He embodies the concept in the way he shows respect for everyone around him, from his employees to his peers, to his customers.” — Richard Green, president, CableLabs.

• “Jim Robbins is so well respected. He is a leader with principles and operates under those principles. He stands up for what is right.” — Char Beales, president, Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.

• “I’ve worked for three cable companies in my 32-year career, and all were wonderful places to work. But I hit the mother lode with Cox. Jim has had a lot do with that. He’s a great leader. He’s charismatic and easy to get to know and talk to. But he’s also brutally honest and expects that from everyone else, too. He holds his general managers accountable and gives them autonomy to do our jobs. It’s a wonderful place to work.” — Leo Brennan, general manager, Cox Cable Communications Inc., Las Vegas.

• “Jim has been a wonderful mentor to a lot of people, including me … He’s an authentic leader. He’s tough when he needs to be. But when you sit down with him, you know he’s really interested in what you’re saying. In the end, the heart of his success is the fact that he’s a likeable human being.” — Decker Anstrom, president and chief operating officer, Landmark Communications Inc.

• “Jim never lost his humanity in the boardroom. He is a good leader because he truly cares about the people around him.” — Ann Carlsen, president, Carlsen Resources.

• “Jim’s lasting legacy ought to be that good guys can finish first. You can conduct yourself genuinely and you can thrive. Jim has a passion that was captivating for those who worked for and with him over the years.” — Sean Bratches, executive vice president, sales and marketing, ESPN.

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