CEO at the wheel
At 57, former TCI exec takes the checkered flag at Le Mans race
By Jeff Smith, Rocky Mountain News
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Former telecommunications executive Leo Hindery Jr. realized a decadelong dream this week: He was part of a three-driver team that won the GT2 category at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.
Hindery, 57, was behind the wheel when the BAM!-sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 RSR took the checkered flag, just 90 seconds ahead of the defending champion.
"It's the greatest midlife crisis in the history of midlife crises," Hindery joked about his car-racing career in a telephone interview Friday from his New York office.
Hindery, who led TCI during a critical period including its $48 billion sale to AT&T, lives in New York full time. But over the years he has remained connected to Colorado, in part through visits to his Lazy H Ranch near Larkspur. He recently put the ranch on the market for $13.7 million, however, because he found his visits were becoming less frequent.
(Interview about the race deleted. He is writing a book and the interview continues.)
News: What's the book about?
Hindery: It's called: It takes a CEO: (Leading with Integrity). It will come out in the fall. It's a book that argues that responsible, successful CEOs satisfy all their constituencies, not just shareholders and their own self-interests. It's sort of a primer in ethics and values.
News: What, career-wise, had the most influence on that?
Hindery: I think it was when I was at TCI. We came in a very difficult circumstance and turned that company around in a very short period of time. And, I think, with a lot of appropriate accolades of how we did it. I said to the people the day I left TCI they won't remember exactly what we did here, they will remember how we did it. That was the same emotion I had on Sunday. Time passes and specific accomplishments get subsumed by other things, but people do tend to remember for a long time that you tried to do it well.
News: What are your current business endeavors?
Hindery: I've formed a private investment firm for media (InterMedia Advisors), and I spend quite a bit of time in Democratic politics and in philanthropy.
News: Do you still follow news about Global Crossing, Comcast (formerly AT&T Broadband and TCI):
Hindery: Oh yeah. We all keep in touch with each other, for sure.
News: Do you have reflections about what went wrong in the industry?
Hindery: I was there (as a top Global Crossing executive) for six months in 2000 before the problems. But I think people will tell you, at least I hope they will, that I foresaw and tried to alert the market to some of these issues.
It was clear that it was a profligate investment period, that people were making investments without fully understanding what other folks were doing in the same space.
The good news in all that, however, is that consumers in Denver or anyplace elsewhere in the world are getting services more fulsomely and less expensively than they would have absent that (investment). The Telecom Act of 1996 remains a seminal piece of legislation. Some guys really pooched it in terms of how they personally executed it. But every family in Colorado is better served today than they were less than 10 years ago.