Abbe Raven | Acting Chairman, A+E Networks
Abbe Raven is Acting Chairman of A+E Networks, an award-winning global media content company offering consumers a diverse communications environment of television networks, websites, DVDs, gaming, and educational software. A+E Networks encompasses A+E Network, Lifetime, HISTORY, LMN, H2, FYI, History en Español, Crime & Investigation Network, Military History, LRW, as well as, A+E Indie Films, A+E Studios, A+E Networks International, A+E Networks Digital and A+E Networks Consumer Products. A+E Networks and branded programming reach more than 350 million households in over 150 countries. A+E Networks is a joint venture between Disney-ABC Television Group and The Hearst Corporation.
Abbe Raven was the longest running employee at A+E Networks having begun 33 years ago as a production assistant and rose through the ranks, ultimately heading both A+E Network and HISTORY, and becoming the second CEO in the company’s history.
Raven became Chairman Emeritus in February 2015 and continues to serve as A+E Networks strategic corporate business advisor. She left retirement to return to A+E as Acting Chairman in 2018. In June 2013, Raven was elevated to the newly created position of Chairman, serving A+E Networks as strategist and business advisor, spearheading long-term business and revenue opportunities as well as public policy initiatives.
She had a successful tenure as President & Chief Executive Officer from April 2005 to June 2013, tripling the company’s revenues and expanding its domestic and global portfolio. Under her leadership, A+E Networks became the second largest media group in the US to deliver the key demographic of Adults 25-54 and catapulted A&E Network and HISTORY into the top 5 networks in cable. In 2009, she oversaw the company’s strategic merger with Lifetime Entertainment Services. She managed a successful integration of LES employees and infrastructure and subsequently reclaimed Lifetime’s position as a leading brand for women. During her tenure, A+E International launched approximately 45 new channels and increased joint ventures worldwide. With the addition of Lifetime and with the company’s expansion to more than 1100 employees, Raven oversaw the creation and construction of an innovative and unique modern campus for its worldwide headquarters in NY.
A+E Networks portfolio has two of the top 5 entertainment brands – HISTORY and A&E, and two of the leading women’s brands in Lifetime and LMN. In 2013, A+E lead all other cable groups with 10 of the top 25 shows in adults 25-54 and 18% of the top 25 shows for adults 25-54. This includes the nonfiction show, Duck Dynasty, #1 new drama, Vikings and the number one miniseries, The Bible, which was watched by over 95 million people. In May 2012, HISTORY debuted the highest rated miniseries in cable history, the multi-Emmy award winning Hatfields & McCoys.
Prior to her position as President and CEO, Ms. Raven was President of A&E Network and The Biography Channel. She spearheaded the revitalization of A&E, launching it back into a top ten network. Under her leadership, A&E Network created a new crop of real-life programming, which led to double-digit growth in the network’s target demographic, a reduction in the network’s median age by almost 20 years, and a record 24 Emmy nominations. Previously, Ms. Raven was Executive Vice President and General Manager of The History Channel. Under her direction, The History Channel grew into a leading cable network and is now recognized as one of the leading brands in the world. Raven was the original architect of The History Channel’s programming schedule.
Raven serves as vice chairman of the advisory board to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She is a Director and on the Executive Committee of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She serves on the board of PENCIL and serves as “Principal for a Day,” and mentor at her NYC High School alma mater. She serves on the board of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She has served as vice chairman of the board of directors of the NCTA (National Cable Television Association). She also served on the boards of NAMIC (National Association of Minorities in Cable) Foundation and the CTAM Educational Foundation.
During her tenure at A+E Networks, Raven has been honored for building some of the most prominent and highly valued cable networks and for standing at the forefront of numerous industry-wide initiatives. Over the last 10 years, Raven has been named to The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list, which listed her as one of the Top 5 most Powerful Women in Entertainment. In September 2012, Raven was again named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune. She was cited for running one of the most successful multi-billion dollar global media companies. In April 2011, she was the recipient of the prestigious New York Women in Communications Matrix Award. In December 2010, she was the recipient of a New York Women in Film & Television MUSE Award. In October 2009, Raven was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. At a White House ceremony in May 2007, Raven accepted the prestigious Preserve America Presidential Award from first lady Laura Bush, the highest national award for historic preservation, for HISTORY’s longstanding commitment to Historic preservation. In 2007, Ms. Raven was selected as an honoree of The Paley Center’s “She Made It” in recognition of her leadership and achievements in the world of cable television. In April 2005, she received the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership from the National Cable Television Association for her years of leadership in the cable industry.
Ms. Raven received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Buffalo in 1974 and a Master of Arts in Theatre and Film from Hunter College in 1977. She has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hunter College and Florida Southern College.