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Mike  White

Mike White

Former Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer DIRECTV, Member of the Board of Directors for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch


Michael D. White is the former chairman, president and chief executive officer of DIRECTV, one of the world’s leading providers of digital television entertainment services. DIRECTV delivers a premium video experience through state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming and industry-leading customer service to more than 20 million customers in the United States and 18 million customers in Latin America. Read More >

White oversees the operations and strategic direction of DIRECTV in the U.S. and DIRECTV Latin America. He joined DIRECTV in January 2010 and is also chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. Since joining DIRECTV, the company’s strategy has focused on four key priorities: Transform the Customer Experience, Innovate to Enhance the Entertainment Experience, Deliver Operating and Financial Goals, and Build Talent and Teamwork.

In addition, Mr. White led the development of a transformational strategy to merge DIRECTV with AT&T. He plays a leading role in the ongoing regulatory review efforts and in integration planning. The merger received a favorable vote by 99% of shareholders, is expected to generate $1.6B in annual synergies within three years, and enables DIRECTV to sell both broadband and pay television in 22 states.

Before joining DIRECTV, White led PepsiCo International as chief executive officer and as vice chairman of PepsiCo from 2003 to 2009. Prior to that role, White served as president and chief executive officer of Frito-Lay’s Europe, Africa and Middle East division. He also served as chief executive officer of Snack Ventures Europe, PepsiCo’s partnership with General Mills International.

From 1998 to 2000, White served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of PepsiCo. Before this, White held several senior level positions throughout the company including executive vice president and chief financial officer for Pepsi-Cola Company worldwide, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Frito-Lay International, and chief financial officer of Frito-Lay North America. He joined Frito-Lay in 1990 as vice president of planning.

Before joining PepsiCo, White was senior vice president and general manager for Avon Products, Inc. He also worked as a management consultant for Bain & Company and Arthur Andersen & Co.

White holds a master's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree from Boston College. He was a Ford Foundation fellow at Leningrad State University. In addition to serving on the DIRECTV Board of Directors, White is also a director of Whirlpool Corp. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Business Leadership

As CEO of DirecTV Mike White was responsible for 30,000 employees. His passion for talent development was reflected in a week long unique experiential leadership program held annually from 2010-2015. The program was offered to high potential young executives. Mike opened the program with a keynote address on his philosophy of leadership.

The title of the speech was Leading at the Next Level. In it Mike outlined what it takes to be a great business leader. He boiled his philosophy down to three main elements, Having a Strategic Perspective, Building alignment to take others with you, and Doing things the right way as a values-based leader. The first element encompassed coping with strategic disruption and setting a distinctive, sustainable strategy to win in the marketplace. The second element focused on building interpersonal skills…being self aware and savvy, being a servant leader, treating others with respect, and building healthy and trusting relationships. It leveraged Mike’s appearance on Undercover Boss to show how to connect with the front line. The final element focused on values based leadership. It emphasized the need to develop one’s own values mindset.

Leading Change

Mike led DirecTV as Chairman and CEO from 2009-2015. This was a very turbulent and challenging time for the media and pay TV industries. Mike led DirecTV’s efforts to change and adapt to massive technology change, the rise of emerging markets, and customer service challenges.

During the five plus years Mike was CEO DirecTV revenues grew over 50% and Earnings per Share increased fivefold. DirecTV entered the Fortune 100 for the first time ever in 2014. DirecTV nearly tripled its stock price and was named Energy Star Partner of the Year three consecutive years. DirecTV outscored cable every year on customer service while Mike was CEO and Net Promoter Score increased from 18 to 34 which was the best in the industry. Employee engagement scores increased 8 points to 84. Mike completed the sale of DirecTV to AT&T in 2015 for $65 billion.

Change was ever present at DirecTV. Mike’s teams embraced TV everywhere building new digital capabilities, the team dramatically expanded its presence in Latin America, and the company made a major effort to improve customer service over that time.

Lessons learned were to embrace change as early as possible, pragmatically adapt your strategies, place a few highly strategic long term bets on the future without losing focus on day to day execution, be willing to pivot when the external environment changes, build strong alignment with the whole workforce, develop your talent and train them to effectively cope with and manage change.

Delivering World Class Customer Service

DirecTV has consistently outscored its competitors on customer service (the American Customer and Satisfaction Index) for more than ten straight years. However, as a new CEO Mike felt the need for DirecTV to take its customer service to a whole new plateau. He led a major strategic effort to rethink the DirecTV customer service capability. Mike championed a new effort to build exceptional service. Read More >

New goals were set and new capabilities were developed. As a result of a multiyear effort, net promoter scores increased by 18 points to 34, best in the industry. In addition, 18mm calls and over 300,000 truck rolls were eliminated saving over 100 million dollars. The change agenda was multifaceted. It included a major effort to retrain and further empower 30,000 front line technicians and call agents. In addition, new digital capabilities were added to streamline the service experience including chat and enhanced self care. New analytics leveraged in-house data to discover new insights on what mattered most to customers. A new simplified bill was developed and implemented. The company found new ways to recognize and reward loyalty while becoming easier to do business with. Read Less ^