Jonathan Leess is respected throughout the media industry as a creative, award winning visionary who has an inspiring ability to turn ideas into successful profitable businesses.
His extensive operating and P&L experience in all facets of broadcast, mobile and broadband media programming have resulted in the launching of noteworthy products and new revenue producing businesses for many Fortune 100 companies including ABC, Disney, CBS, ESPN, National Football League, Pac 12 Networks, British Basketball League, America Online, Major League Baseball, The Game Show Network as well as venture-backed start-up technology companies.
His strength is combining strong leadership skills with collaborative teamwork which turns foresight into objectives into successfully executed businesses that exceed expectations.
“Throughout my career in broadcast television and digital media, I’ve tried to convey to my colleagues one thing: Content will always be King but new emerging technologies must also be embraced. They are the critical components for delivering great content to a now, very different consumer; a consumer that is mobile, has more control and possess a strong power of influence.”–Jonathan Leess, ‘Embracing New Technologies’ Article published in 2011 for RTHK, Hong Kong, China
The following are comments from various media industry executives who have worked with Jonathan:
“Jonathan is a creative and practical executive, with a great grasp of technology. Terrific manager and leader of people.”— Kevin Mayer, Co-CEO, Candle Media (former COO, Walt Disney Company)
“Jonathan is innovative, yet pragmatic. He has consistently exhibited extraordinary vision of where the media business is going and is one of the few executives I know who has demonstrated the tenacity and skills to execute against that vision. Jonathan is a great colleague, mentor and manager. He is open to ideas and criticism, provides freedom and guidance, and is loyal to his work and his employees. Jonathan is a leader, who inspires and motivates people with his unique perspective, his enthusiasm and his will, and who leads by example. He will undoubtedly be at the center of the evolution of media and technology for many years to come.” — Aaron Radin, CEO, British Basketball League
“I engaged Jonathan’s services to support a company I formed to develop a web-based worldwide news service, dedicated to the Walter Cronkite legacy. With Jonathan’s vision, his vast expertise and his extraordinary marketing and communication skills he helped the company navigate quickly, efficiently and successfully through the challenges of creating a digital media business. His input, direction and leadership enabled us to fully develop this ambitious project from a business plan to an outstanding presentation, all of which garnered support and great enthusiasm from high profile members of the media industry as well as the venture capital community. Jonathan is a brilliant, enormously talented and dedicated professional with whom I am privileged to have been associated.” — Marlene Adler, Former Chief of Staff, Walter Cronkite
“I am particularly proud of what we have achieved in the critically important area of Internet/television convergence with the development of Enhanced TV. It is now a regular feature of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire as well as Monday Night Football and special event shows such as the Oscars and the Emmys”— Michael D. Eisner, Former Chairman & CEO, Disney Shareholder’s Letter 01/12/01
“Mr. Leess is an “out-of-the-box thinker..He’s spent years exploring the digital space, so he’s positioned to become a strong spokesperson on the benefits in the digital world,” — Bill Cella, Partner, The Cheyenne Group
“Jonathan is one of the few people who has successfully bridged the gap between legacy media and new media. His nimble mind and curious nature has served him well in this regard. Jonathan was a terrific client at CBS; one of the few to throw the ball back harder than it was thrown at him. I also saw him manage his team with a great combination of guidance, freedom and support. I wholeheartedly recommend Jonathan for any leadership position without regard to industry because I know his adaptive business sensibilities will allow him to excel in any opportunity. He also happens to be a guy you want to hang out at a Craps table…an endorsement not easily dispensed!”— Bill Hague, Executive Vice President, Frank N Magid Associates
“Jonathan is a born leader with very strong organizational , motivational and strategic skills. His overall knowledge and experience in the media business is unmatched and an inspiration to many who worked with him. Jonathan is also one of the very few people in our industry who truly understands how to successfully bridge the gaps and challenges that exist between legacy media and the digitally and mobile connected consumer. He’s a team player who communicates extremely well and has a tremendous work ethic. Working with him at the Pac -12 Networks over the past several years allowed me to witness his strong managerial skills while mentoring and supporting the many staff members he oversaw”— Neil Davis, Executive Vice President, Sales Pac-12 Networks
“Jonathan was one of Digital Dawn’s most valued advisors, helping us think through the complex issues associated with our clients’ transition to new business models. He has an innate business sense and a deep understanding of and respect for media, from its traditional roots to its digital descendants. Furthermore, he possesses a high degree of integrity. We were very lucky to have had the chance to work with Jonathan.”— Andrew Feigenson, Managing Director, Digital Dawn
“I consider myself very fortunate to have worked for Jonathan Leess for the past two and a half years. He is as brilliant as he is dedicated and disciplined. His leadership defined how we do business and provided an open and adaptive environment that encouraged creativity and fostered success. ” — Don McKinney, VP, EDGE Series, The Mobile TV Group
“I gained a tremendous amount of experience while working for Jonathan and appreciated how he found a balance between the often rigid and demanding goal-oriented environment and the people first management style he so successfully employed. He brings the same passion and intensity to everything that he does and I will miss his vision and innovative perspective in the future. “I’ve always been impressed with Jonathan’s sharp business mind. After our first meeting, it was immediately clear to me he knew how to grow digital businesses and make them profitable. His work shepherding the digital media business at CBS wowed me as a reporter, so I nominated him for our annual 12 to Watch section at TelevisionWeek. He was selected and I’m proud to say he was one of the best picks ever. He’s delivered on his goals at CBS, turning the digital business into a revenue generator.” — Daisy Whitney, Contributing Writer, Television Week Magazine/Online
“I know Jonathan as a thoughtful, forward-looking executive with a keen eye for trends. In my capacity as news director at CBS, Jonathan impressed me as being always grounded in content priorities, while constantly generating smart ideas for revenue. He would be a big fish to catch for any company looking for someone savvy in the digital platform and mindful always of the customer. The success of the CBS O-and-O websites is to his credit.” — Carol Fowler, Vice President/News Director, WBBM-TV
“I was hired by Jonathan to build a new creative department and set standards – and that’s exactly what he gave me the freedom and resources to do. Jonathan inspires me, and my team, to do our very best work. When we first met I was particularly inspired by how deeply he understands the digital/media business and successfully built an entirely new division at CBS. I knew that I could learn a great deal from him. Entrepreneurial, pragmatic, very smart, and very fair. I feel privileged to work with Jonathan.”—Ross Angert, Creative Director, CBS TV Stations
“Jonathan took over a vanilla collection of websites and helped build a franchise. He understands the web and knows how to make it work.”—Andrew J. Siegel, Sr. Vice President and Associate General Counsel, CBS
“Jonathan Leess was not only a boss, but truly a mentor. I had the opportunity to work for Jonathan for 3 years at CBS and during that time, I gained incredible experience and insight on being a better manager. Jonathan is extremely forward-thinking and does not use conventional solutions to solve problems. It’s his ability to take on a problem at the macro level, develop a complex solution and actually execute on it…that’s what makes him unique and sets him apart from the rest. I would relish an opportunity to work with Jonathan again as I know wherever he goes, success will follow.”—Sayoko Knight Teitelbaum, Vice President, Product Management CBS Television Stations
“Jon has a unique talent and combination of skills – he is smart, has great experience, proven results and vision to see what can be done and the organizational/management skills to align his team to execute against that opportunity. Even better, Jon can always be counted on to bring some new creative twist to an opportunity – and make it even better. You can trust Jon to do what he says, and be confident he will over-deliver on the promise.”— Stuart Lipson, Executive Director, eSports Ad Bureau
“When Jonathan and I worked together I found him to be creative, professional and a great asset for our station efforts on the interactive side. Jonathan clearly enjoyed what he did and was a dedicated, passionate advocate for all the projects we took on together. I would definitely recommend him.”—Diana Wilkin, President – Affiliate Relations, CBS Network
“Jonathan has a very strong grasp on the inner workings of the television and internet businesses, as well as a terrific understanding of the technologies behind both. His experience with TV advertising has also allowed him to create new revenue streams for his fledgling business unit. A combination of his business savvy, creative and self motivated drive have played an important part in our company’s web and interactive television achievements and are setting standards that are now emulated throughout the media business. The benefits of his evangelist efforts throughout our company will be felt for many years to come.— Disney Executive commenting on Jonathan’s Enhanced TV division