NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, was named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year ® 2012 Media, Entertainment and Communications Category Award winner. Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the country's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
Fries was recognized for his foresight and ability to expand the company into regions of the world not yet explored by other cable providers and in which nine million homes are still watching analog television. It was Fries' critical leadership that helped create a global organization that generated $10 billion in revenues, has 20 million customers and operates in 13 countries. Liberty Global (LGI) is currently the second largest cable TV company in the world, behind Comcast. Fries was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum ® in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from 244 regional award recipients.
" Mike Fries is the visionary behind the leading cable company, employing more than 21,000 people and connecting 13 countries with the digital world," said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP. "With a laser focus on innovation, Fries continues to enhance Liberty Global's Internet, voice and video services, bringing an amazing entertainment experience as well as simplicity to societies across the globe."
The right to free mediaLGI was born in 1989 and Fries' first job was to travel the globe, drum up new business opportunities and lead the company's first deals. In 1990, he found himself driving around rural Hungary in meetings with local officials. He was beaming presentations intended to teach communists about profit and value creation onto the walls of ranches and town halls. The fall of communism had given local governments network systems and rights that they didn't know how to use. Mike was there with a solution, and the result was the launch of the first international cable network, HBO Hungary. LGI's success, driven by Fries, can be measured by the fact that it has connected many different countries to the digital world, enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities. Nearly all of the countries he's connected have disparate linguistic, cultural, political and regulatory challenges. Entering markets under great stress or scrutiny was a feat in itself, and achieving success in them is a challenge most companies would not have been able to navigate.