Great ResignationDiversity and InclusionCompensationCEO DailyCFO DailyModern Board

Altice Leadership Playbook: Bold Moves, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Diverse Thinking

October 17, 2019, 7:57 PM UTC

The day that Dexter Goei took charge at Cablevision, it was a big deal for the 16,000 people who worked for the iconic New York cable television company. Many of them had worked a long time for the powerful Charles Dolan who founded the cable television company in the 1960s. So Goei says it was an “emotional” day when he changed the name of the company to Altice USA. 

“I think they were anxious and there was a lot of nervousness,” recalls Goei. “A lot of anxiety.”

Part of that anxiety was because those Cablevision employees didn’t know much about the new owner.  Altice USA traces its roots to Europe. Its original Netherlands based parent, Altice NV purchased Cablevision in 2016 and then spun off the U.S. operations, creating Altice USA. And Goei was tapped as its first CEO.

One look at Goei and it was clear to everyone that he was going to be a very different type of leader than the conservative and commanding style of Charles Dolan. Even though he worked for years as a banker at Morgan Stanley, the 48-year-old Goei looks and acts more like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur than a telecom industry leader. He wears jeans and sneakers to work, eats in the company cafeteria, goes out in the field with cable installers and listens in on calls from customers.  

“I think people were like ‘wow’,” says Goei. “But I think it caught on very quickly.”

His multi-cultural background was also unusual. But Goei’s personal story is influencing a fresh way of thinking about diversity at Altice.  Born in Germany, Goei grew up in Paris, France with his Chinese parents and learned to speak several languages, but he came to the U.S. to study at Georgetown University.  

“If you grew up in one spot with the same influences as everyone in your neighborhood, you think like that neighborhood does,” Goei says. “You need to be able to react to someone in California from a Hispanic descent to someone in the Bronx of African-American descent.  If you’re not diverse in the people that are managing, making those decisions, how are you supposed to be able to cater to your customers?”

Not only has Goei had a dramatic impact on the company’s culture he has also made some bold moves to expand Altice into new businesses.  The Long Island-based cable television and internet provider, recently launched a new mobile phone service called Altice Mobile and thanks to several acquisitions Altice USA also offers international television news programming. One sign that Goei’s leadership is paying off: Altice USA has joined the Fortune 500 list of the biggest companies in America, for the first time ever.

Watch the video above for more from my interview with Goei.