The Road to Palm Springs
President and CEO
Liberty Global, Inc.
Mike Fries, president and CEO of Liberty Global, Inc. (LGI), simply summarizes up his overarching business strategy: “We’re about building value around here, not building empires.” But with 20 million customers, operations in 13 countries and a wide-open digital market in which 9 million homes are still watching analog television, he’s doing just that.
LGI was born in 1989 and Mike’s first job was to travel the globe, drum up new opportunities and lead the company’s first deals. In 1990, he found himself driving around rural Hungary in meetings with local officials. He was beaming presentations intended to teach communists about profit and value creation onto the walls of ranches and town halls. The fall of communism gave local governments network systems and rights that they didn’t know how to use. Mike was there with a solution, and the result was the launch of the first international cable network, HBO Hungary. Mike ultimately expanded operations into 26 countries.
The time between 2001 and 2004 were lean years and played a crucial role in creating LGI’s unique corporate culture. As Mike says, “We’re entrepreneurial, period. Lean, fast – a ‘family’ venture.” To reinforce this “family” feeling, he’s currently working to revitalize a “shared company vision” around the globe, fostering a culture of communication and cooperation across borders.
Mike places a large focus on supporting charitable programs focused on education and at-risk youth, and contributes to cultural organizations in Denver.