Cable Tech

Liao Puts the CE in CableLabs

In choosing Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC) CTO Paul Liao as its new leader, CableLabs is hoping to tighten cable's bonds with the consumer electronics industry as the Internet draws the two industries closer together.

"We're going to be able to re-energize and re-ignite our mission," CableLabs board chairman and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) chairman and CEO Brian Roberts tells Cable Digital News regarding the selection.

Liao got named CableLabs president and CEO today, succeeding Richard Green. People familiar with the process said more than 100 potential candidates were identified for the top post at Louisville, Colo.-based CableLabs. (See Panasonic's Liao Is New CableLabs CEO.)

Liao hasn’t settled on an official start date, but he plans to move to Colorado and work closely with his predecessor during an undetermined transition period. Green, whose contract with CableLabs expires at year's end, recently joined the board of Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) (See CableLabs Chief Bows Out and CableLabs Chief Joins Liberty Board.)

Roberts says he's looking for Liao to give MSOs some fresh perspective and help them innovate faster, goals Liao agrees with.

"The Internet is changing everything," Liao says. "I believe CableLabs can play a pivotal role in ensuring that the cable industry continues its growth. I believe there's a huge opportunity for the cable industry to work much more closely with the consumer electronics industry."

Liao is not foreign to a CableLabs-like existence. Before joining Panasonic in 1996, Liao was with Bellcore, another politically charged, consortium-run organization.

"I'm hoping to bring that experience to bear as I begin working at CableLabs," Liao says, noting that he'll have to start by visiting with MSOs and their suppliers.

Roberts commended outgoing CEO Green for his leadership and dedication at CableLabs, pointing to successful projects such as Docsis and, more recently, tru2way. "But at the same time, we have an opportunity for Paul to come in and bring new energy and fresh eyes." (See A Decade of Docsis .)

Green said he was happy with the selection of his replacement. "He's a physicist like me," Green said in an interview. "He's very well equipped in terms of his background. He is knowledgeable about the industry and its issues and its strategy."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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