Liberty's Malone Endows CTAM U Seat

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Liberty Media Group Inc. chairman John Malone has pledged $100,000 to endow a seat at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing's annual executive management program.

The endowment has been dubbed the Liberty Media Chair for Strategic Marketing.

The management program, also known as CTAM U, will move to Harvard Business School this spring. Harvard professor Tom Eisenmann will oversee the weeklong course.

"Marketing excellence is essential to the success of our business," Malone said in a press release. "My hope is to support Tom Eisenmann, the HBS faculty and CTAM in their efforts to educate industry professionals."

CTAM president Char Beales expects this year's CTAM U class to comprise 60 to 70 executives.

Several years ago, Eisenmann had close access to Malone while conducting research on the former Tele-Communications Inc. and the cable industry. That was before Malone sold the MSO, now known as AT&T Broadband, to AT&T Corp.

Starz Encore Group LLC chairman John Sie is credited with convincing Malone to endow CTAM U, which needed additional funding to move the program to Harvard, Beales said. Sie himself was the first of four chairs for the CTAM executive-management program, which along with Liberty also includes the Dan Aaron Lecture for Innovative Management and the Walter Kaitz Chair.

"We feel pretty proud that the Liberty family started with me and ended with John Malone," Sie said last week. "We're bookending this program."

According to Sie, CTAM U is a "great initiative to advance learning for operators and programmers." It will broaden its outreach to include technology companies, as well, he noted.

Beales called the endowment "a big deal," given that in the past, Malone has not been known for supporting marketing causes.

In addition to his initial cash contribution, Sie is also an active supporter of CTAM U, addressing the class on competitive issues each year. He will try to convince Malone to speak to future classes, he said, although that's not likely to happen in 2001.

The CTAM Educational Foundation also announced three new corporate patrons: Mediacom Communications Corp., the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and ESPN. Corporate patrons receive guaranteed seats each year for their executives, although they're still responsible for the $7,500 tuition.

Seven additional individual contributors were added to the founders' list last week: Charter Communications' senior vice president of marketing Mary Pat Blake; Showtime Networks Inc. chairman Matt Blank; Motorola Broadband communications sector chairman Ed Breen; Renaissance Media Partners principal Mike Egan; USA Networks executive vice president of affiliate relations Peter Ruben; Time Warner Cable senior executive vice president Tom Rutledge; and Fox Cable Networks president Jeff Shell.