Cox Communications Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. Esser will retire effective December 31, 2021, after leading the company for 15 years. Esser will be succeeded by Cox Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Mark Greatrex who will be named president.
During Esser’s leadership tenure, Cox has more than doubled its business to become the largest private telecom company in America serving nearly seven million homes and businesses across 18 states. He has guided the company’s aggressive investment in product and network leadership to support new services and applications for customers. He has also sought growth outside the company, with recent investments and acquisitions in telecom infrastructure companies, home health logistics and cloud services.
Customer service excellence has been a Cox hallmark under Esser’s leadership. Cox has consistently ranked highly in annual J.D. Power and Associates’ studies of consumer satisfaction, with a total of 36 top honors across multiple residential and business product categories.
Esser is a highly respected community and telecommunications industry leader. He has been a champion of efforts to bridge the digital divide both through the company’s Connect2Compete low-income broadband program and through his service to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, holding various board leadership roles at regional and national levels. Esser serves as chair of the C-SPAN board and on the board of directors of CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). He also serves as an adviser to the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications and on the national Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In 2007, Esser was honored with Multichannel News’ first “Executive of the Year” award. In 2013, he was awarded the distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership — the industry’s highest honor.
Under Esser’s direction, Cox Communications has earned accolades for celebrating its diverse people, suppliers, communities and products. In 2006, Cox was first named in DiversityInc’s listing of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity and in 2020, reached its highest ranking at No.11. Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) regularly recognizes Cox among the top operators for women.
“We are extremely thankful to Pat Esser for his leadership at Cox Communications,” said Alex Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications. “He has grown the business consistently over the years. Even more meaningfully, he has done it in the right way — by treating people well and making a positive impact in our communities. Pat is an extraordinary leader.”
“I’ve always been fascinated by the cable business and have been fortunate to find a special family-owned company that lives its values,” said Esser. “I’m grateful for the tremendous opportunities I’ve been given at Cox and the numerous mentors and committed peers that have helped me along this unbelievable ride of a lifetime.”
As Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Mark Greatrex has been responsible for leading the company’s residential sales team and marketing activities. Since joining Cox in 2011, Greatrex has made an indelible impact on both the company and the industry. He has transformed the marketing and sales functions to create a highly competitive team that has achieved significant growth in broadband market share. Greatrex has also worked to develop the Cox brand to highlight the power of Cox technology to deepen human connections and brought to market innovations such as Gigablast, Contour TV and Panoramic Wifi. He plays an active role in Cox’s commitment to environmental sustainability and governance work, including the enterprise goal to improve the lives of 34 million people by 2034. Greatrex leads Cox Communications’ Environmental Council that supports conservation efforts and serves on the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper board. Additionally, he is the founding executive sponsor of Cox’s Young Professionals employee resource group.
Prior to joining Cox, Greatrex served in a variety of leadership roles at consumer product and telecom service companies such as Unilever, America Online and The Coca-Cola Company. His career experience includes senior marketing and sales roles as well as general management across multiple business models in the U.S. and across global markets.
“I am honored to be leading this very special company with a celebrated history, and an exciting future full of optimism and great momentum,” said Greatrex. “We have a winning strategy and I look forward to amplifying the incredible values of the Cox family and the mission to improve the lives of the next generation.”
“Mark is going to be a great leader for the next chapter in Cox Communications’ evolution,” Taylor said. “He is a wonderful executive and person. I have confidence he will continue to grow the business and will continue our commitment to making the company an exemplary corporate citizen.”
Esser added, “Cox Communications is in exceptionally good hands. Mark is a strong and visionary leader who will sustain and amplify the momentum he’s helped to achieve in the industry. His energy, creativity and sharp strategic sensibilities will drive continued innovation, excellence and passion for our customers. I wish him the best as he moves into his new role.”