Photo:  Football Italia
Who Is Rocco Commisso – The Richest Person Of New Jersey. Photo: Football Italia

Who Is Rocco Commisso - Biography

Rocco Benito Commisso (born 25 November 1949) is an Italian American billionaire businessman and the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Mediacom, the fifth-largest cable television company in the US. As of 2011, the company is privately owned by Commisso.

He previously worked for companies including Cablevision, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Chase Manhattan Bank. Since 2017, Commisso has been the owner and chairman of the New York Cosmos, and since June 2019, the owner of the Italian football club ACF Fiorentina. He is the richest person in New Jersey, with a net worth of $7.1 Billion.

Rocco Commisso: Early Life & Education

Born in Calabria, Italy, Commisso migrated to the United States at age 12. Commisso attended Mount Saint Michael Academy high school in the Bronx and attended Columbia University on a full undergraduate scholarship where he earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1971. He earned an MBA in 1975 from Columbia Business School. He was co-captain of Columbia's varsity football (soccer) team; elected president of the business school student body; and received the business school service award.

Rocco Commisso: Career

Photo:  Forbes
Photo: Forbes

Commisso played soccer for the Columbia University Lions in the 1967–1970 period. He is a three-time All-Ivy League Honouree. In 1967, Commisso was a member of a freshman squad that finished with an undefeated record of 8-0. Commisso served as co-captain of the 1970 team that went 9-4-0 and made Columbia’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA men's soccer tournament. Throughout his college soccer career, Commisso was cited numerous times for his skill and leadership culminating in an invitation to try out for the US team for the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Commisso began his business career at Pfizer Inc. After returning to Columbia and graduating from business school, he spent ten years in the financial industry, initially at Chase Manhattan Bank (now J.P. Morgan Chase). In 1978, he began working with cable companies and other entertainment enterprises as a part of Chase's corporate financing department. He later worked at Royal Bank of Canada, where he led the bank's U.S. lending activities to the media and communications sectors. From 1986 to 1995, he was Executive Vice President, chief financial officer, and Director of Cablevision Industries Corporation. During this time, Cablevision Industries grew from the 25th to the 8th largest cable company in the United States, with around 1.3 million customers at the time of its merger with Time Warner.

Photo:  New York Cosmos
Photo: New York Cosmos

Commisso has been the chairman and CEO of Mediacom Communications Corporation since he founded the company in 1995 out of his basement. Initially, Mediacom acquired cable systems in underserved smaller American communities. Commisso took Mediacom public in 2000 after which time it grew to become the 8th largest cable operator in the United States with annual revenues of over $1.6 billion. In March 2011, the company then went private and wholly-owned by Commisso. Since that time Mediacom was named the best cable company in the US in 2016 and in 2009 by CableFAX magazine.

In 2004, on the 250th anniversary of Columbia's founding, the school's newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, listed Commisso among Columbia's 250 greatest undergraduate alumni of all time. The school of business also recognized him as a Select Distinguished Alumni. Commisso is the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southwest Connecticut/New York Hudson Valley region, the Innovator Award for Business Strategy from Cablevision magazine, and the National Italian American Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2007, he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. In 2008, he served as Co-Chair of the Cable Show staged in New Orleans. In 2009, Commisso was presented with the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, the cable industry’s highest honor. In 2010, he was welcomed into the SUNY New Paltz School of Business Hall of Fame and named Business Person of the Year. In June 2011, Commisso was inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honour.

Photo:  Front Row Soccer
Photo: Front Row Soccer

On 12 October 2013, Columbia University named its soccer venue at the school’s Baker Athletics Complex as the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium. In 2015, he was named an NYC Soccer Gala Honouree. Commisso was inducted into the 2016 Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame Special Category.

In January 2017, Commisso purchased a majority ownership stake in the New York Cosmos soccer club and became the club's new chairman. As an owner, he has moved the team's games to MCU Park in Coney Island. At the time, both the team and its league (the North American Soccer League) were struggling financially, and the move was seen as a sign of support for both. At the time, several of the other bids for the team were to shut down the franchise in order to prevent it from remaining a competitive threat in the league.

Photo:  The New York Times
Photo: The New York Times

On June 6, 2019, the purchase of ACF Fiorentina by Commisso was formalized,. The purchase was finalized on June 24, 2019. It is believed that Commisso bought Fiorentina for somewhere between $150–200 million.

Rocco Commisso: Awards & Achievements

In 2004, Columbia University’s newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, named Rocco Commisso as one of Columbia’s 250 greatest undergraduate alumni. The school of business also honored him as Select Distinguished Alumni.

In his lifetime, he has won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the National Italian American Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and Cablevision magazine’s Innovator Award for Business Strategy.

Rocco was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2015, he was recognized as an NYC Soccer Gala Honoree. The following year, he was inducted into the Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame Special Category.

He won the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership in 2009, and in 2010, he was named Business Person of the Year and was inducted into the SUNY New Paltz School of Business Hall of Fame.

In June 2011, Rocco Commisso was welcomed into the Cable Center Hall of Fame. In 2015, he received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was also welcomed into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

Rocco Commisso: Personal Life

Commisso is married to Catherine, they have two children and live in Saddle River, New Jersey. As of 2015, Catherine Commisso is head of corporate administration for Mediacom.

Rocco Commisso: Net Worth

Rocco Commisso is an Italian American businessman who has a net worth of $7.1 billion.

Commisso has also worked for several other companies including Chase Manhattan Bank, Cablevision, and The Royal Bank of Canada. In 2017 he became the owner and chairman of the soccer team the New York Cosmos. He graduated from Columbia University and the Columbia Business School and was co-captain of the varsity soccer team. Rocco Commisso started his career working at Pfizer Inc. before joining the financial sector. He serves on the board of directors for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association as well as C-Span and the Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. Commisso was inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame and has received many awards.

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