David Dibble just spent six years at Yahoo and has never worked in cable — and Cablevision has never had a chief technology officer. Yet this could be a good fit considering how eager Cablevision is to built out its Optimum WiFi network, along with other digital initiatives. The former Yahoo EVP of Central Technology, and adviser to CEO Marissa Mayer, will take the new gig next month, reporting to CEO James Dolan. His broad turf will include its expansion of WiFi hotspots, which could dent wireless phone companies’ plans to dominate mobile distribution of Internet services. That’s an important consideration for Cablevision which faces intense competition from Verizon’s FiOS in the tri-state area around New York City. The cable company said last week that it has more than 1M hotspots, putting the effort five months ahead of schedule.
“Wi-Fi is likely to be a main focus for Cablevision as the company densifies its network, improving both in-home and out-of-home connectivity options, including on mass transit platforms and routes,” Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack said last week. “This ultimately could lead to new product offerings, and potentially higher revenue.”
Dolan says the hiring “will significantly impact the future direction of Cablevision’s technology and data solutions, which will facilitate the development of innovative products and services, including WiFi.” Dibble will be part of “a growing team of new leaders at the company who collectively are helping to advance Cablevision’s evolution into a leading connectivity company that delivers a superior customer experience.”
Yahoo’s then-interim CEO Ross Levinsohn put Dibble in charge of the company’s technology in mid-2012., shortly before Mayer was awarded the top job. He kept operations going until the middle of last year, when he became Mayer’s advisor. In addition to his work with Cablevision, Dibble is a board member at Tribune Publishing, the newspaper operation that Tribune just spun off.
Cablevision says its previous top technology executive, Wilt Hildenbrand, will become a Senior Adviser for the company.