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Ted Leonsis – Vice Chairman Emeritus, AOL

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Ted Leonsis with Rebecca

Ted Leonsis is known as one of the country’s premier businessmen having held numerous leadership positions at AOL. He is also a professional sports team owner, a film producer, a private-angel investor, an active Board member and a committed philanthropist.

During his 14-year career with AOL, the company enjoyed its greatest periods of growth and financial success. Ted now serves as Vice Chairman Emeritus, having stepped down from day-to-day management at AOL on December 31, 2006. He has served as AOL Vice Chairman as well as President of several business units including the AOL Services Company; AOL Studios; AOL Web Services; AOL Core Service and the AOL Audience Business.

Ted’s creation of SnagFilms stems naturally from his entertainment, technology and philanthropic activities. He conceptualized and produced Nanking, a documentary film that made its world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Documentary Editing Award. Since that time, the film has been screened at film festivals around the globe including the Hong Kong Film Festival, where it won the Humanitarian Award, and is already the best-selling documentary in China’s history. For his production debut with Nanking, Ted assembled a highly acclaimed filmmaking team including the Academy Award-winning writer/director team of Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, as well as a strong Hollywood cast including Woody Harrelson, Jurgen Prochnow, Mariel Hemingway and others to narrate the film. Nanking is a documentary film that serves as a powerful, emotional and relevant reminder of the heartbreaking toll war takes on the innocent as it tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, in the early days of World War II. Theatrically released in late 2007, the film aired on HBO in April, 2008 and was short-listed for the Academy Award ©. While at the Sundance Film Festival, Ted coined the phrase “Filmanthropy” to describe a new category of filmmaking that activates discussion as well as new volunteers and new funds that benefit a social cause. His second production, Kicking It, is a feature documentary about the power of sports as an agent for change and personal redemption and is a natural extension of Filmanthropy.

Ted is now the Chairman of Revolution Money, an innovative new Web 2.0 payment platform and credit-card service created to transform the financial services industry by drastically altering the economics through Internet-based technology. This new payment platform also generates significant merchant and consumer benefits. Revolution Money, formerly GratisCard Inc., is a subsidiary of Revolution LLC, the investment company created by Steve Case. Ted is also Chairman of Clearspring Technologies, a fast-growing widget syndication and social media company based in Tysons Corner, VA.

Early in his career, Ted was the founder of several new media companies including Redgate Communications Corporation, a pioneering new media company which, in 1993, was the first company acquired by AOL. He was also the founder of six personal computer magazines, authored four books and worked on the introduction of the IBM PC and the Apple Macintosh. He co-invented a very successful board game called “Only in New York,” and served as a marketing executive with Harris Corp and Wang Laboratories. Ted is also the founder, chairman and majority owner of Lincoln Holdings LLC, a sports and entertainment company that holds ownership rights in several Washington, DC entities including 100% of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. Lincoln Holdings also owns approximately 44% of Washington Sports and Entertainment Limited Partnership (WSELP), which owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards, DC’s Verizon Center and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster franchise.

During Ted’s tenure as majority owner of the Capitals, the team has won two division titles and recorded the second-most points in franchise history. Under his leadership, several Washington Capitals business units have been recognized nationally, including game presentation by IDEA, media relations by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and the website by Sports Business Journal and Forbes magazine.

In addition to Lincoln Holdings LLC, Ted also has investments in a large group of web-related companies including: Algentis LLC; Beacon Capital Strategies LLC; Clearspring Technologies; Geneva Acquisition Corp.; Mahalo; Mobile Posse; Object Video and Qloud. Ted serves on the board of several of these companies as well as PodShow. Ted is a major philanthropist and is very involved with numerous charities, including Best Buddies, Hoop Dreams, See Forever Foundation, Youth Aids and others through the work of the Leonsis Foundation.

He also once served as mayor of Orchid, FL. Among his many honors, Ted has been named Washington’s Businessman of the Year, a Washingtonian of the Year, one of the 20 most influential people in sports, one of America’s most creative executives and a top 10 entrepreneur of the year. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, and later, Lowell, MA, he now lives in McLean, VA, and Vero Beach, FL, with his wife and two children.


Interview Air Date: November 26, 2008


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