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CBA Welcomes Former Top MTV Executive

CBA Welcomes Former Top MTV Executive
Jim Norman

He has worked in media, aviation, and venture capitalism and traveled the world to start up and run successful companies. So when Mark Booth P ’19, ’22, ’24 came to campus to address Canterbury Business Association (CBA) members and other business-minded students, they listened attentively. 

“I found it interesting how he went abroad to London, Australia, Japan, and all these countries and found a way to scale businesses there with his connections,” said Eva Berkovich ’24, a CBA Executive Board member. “That’s exactly what I want to do—combine travel with business.”

After working at MTV Networks in the United States in the early 1980s, Mark took his vision for the company overseas and became the Founding CEO of MTV Europe in London. He later served the same role at Foxtel, a joint venture between News Corporation and Telstra in Sydney, Australia, before returning to London as CEO of BSkyB, where he launched Sky Digital. Mark then shifted into the aviation industry, becoming Chairman and CEO of NetJets Europe in London. He was also general partner of epartners, an early-stage venture capital firm.

With such a diverse and accomplished business background, Mark had plenty of experience to draw upon when advising his rapt audience. “When you start a company, your business plan never goes exactly the way you think it will, so you have to reconfigure your strategy,” he explained. “I worked for Rupert Murdoch at Sky, and we came up with the ‘free box’ strategy.” That concept—offering free set-top digital decoder boxes to customers—reenergized the company, which went from third in its market to first at the time.

Mark also shared the challenges of bringing the MTV brand to the European market. “MTV was a rocket ship. You just had to hold on,” he recalled. “I was the first employee at MTV Europe. I went over there with a logo and a briefcase and hired smart people. The challenges were there. It is not hard to put up video clips; everyone has access to the same music. If somebody wins, it is because they have a better idea, they differentiate it, and they sell it to the consumer. Get out there and find ways to get the community engaged.”

He also stressed to students the importance of making the most of their time at Canterbury. “Your job right now is being a student, so you want to be the best student you can possibly be,” he said. “It affects your life tremendously. Being able to persuade people, giving a speech in front of an audience, the way you write—it is all important. If I had to go back and do it over, I would have worked harder in school.” 

Mark and his wife Lauren live in rural Connecticut. Two of their six children—Coco ’19 and Cyrus ’22—graduated from Canterbury, and daughter Phoebe ’24 is a current student. 

Thank you for sitting down with our Saints, Mark!