Guest Bio

Mark Schneider

Entrepreneur, Investor & Executive

Mark Schneider is a successful and seasoned entrepreneur, investor, and executive.  Mark has founded and co-founded numerous media and telecommunications businesses.  Among the most prominent of these have been United International Holdings (UIH), United Global Communications (UGC), United Pan-European Communications (UPC), Chello Broadband, Chellomedia and Priority Telecom*.  Recently Mark founded East Africa Capital Partners (EACP), which through its Africa Telecommunications, Media and Technology Fund (ATMT) controls Wananchi Group, a rapidly emerging broadband and multimedia business developing in fourteen countries in Africa.

Mark is a lawyer and economist by education and has more than 30 years experience in managing, including roles as Chairman, CEO and President of several of these entities.  He has managed business development, acquisition, finance and investment in the ever-evolving fields of cable TV, telephony, broadband internet, satellite and wireless technologies.  Additionally Mark developed basic, pay and broadcast television channels and new media business – all of the above being core fields of the United Group.

Following completion of his Juris Doctorate in 1980, he worked in the Attorney General’s office for the Governor of Alaska.  He joined as the Staff Counsel and later became Legislative Chief of Staff to the US Senator Ted Stevens (formerly President Pro Tempore of the US Senate and formerly ranking Republican Member and at that time majority whip).  Mark subsequently represented various public land, energy, and communications organisations as a private lawyer and for a period as Washington representative for British Petroleum’s major US business.  In 1986 Mark left Washington.

Mark became Senior V.P. of United Cable Television (UCT) for development and acquisitions.  United Cable acquired numerous cable systems and invested in Discovery, QVC, E, Prime Sports, Blockbuster Video, Republic Pictures and Turner Broadcasting among others.  Many of these were early stage or start ups at that time.

Mark initiated and worked through completion of the merger with United Artists to create United Artist Entertainment (UAE) and served on that Board until the company was sold in 1991; and was its Head of Business Development.  While Mark was in that role UAE became the 3rd largest US cable television company and largest theatre owner by 1990, when sold to TCI / Liberty for approximately a three and one half billion dollar valuation.

Beginning in 1989 to 2004, Mark, along with his father Gene Schneider – and a handful of other former UA / UCT executives – founded and developed United International Holdings (UIH).  From 20 million USD of investment in 1989 to secure Scandinavian, Israeli and Maltese cable and programming assets, these companies have evolved to be worth 30-40 billion USD of value in over 20 nations and 4 continents through growth and expansion.  (UIH later became United Global Com and ultimately the nucleus for John Malone’s Liberty Global Inc. (LGI) when it acquired United in 2004).

Mark served in various senior roles at UIH and UGC and was founding Chairman and CEO of UPC and Chellomedia. UPC and Chellomedia became a separately listed group to develop European and Eastern European assets.  They ultimately became the largest, most valuable asset group in the organisation. UGC and its sister companies built and acquired numerous cable, satellite and media interests in Europe, Latin America and Asia.  UGC also created a number of international subsidiaries and successor companies including UPC Eastern Europe, Austar, UGC Latin America, UGC Asia, Chello Broadband and Chellomedia.  These assets represented approximately 20 million subscribers and dozens of programming investments in nearly two dozen countries by 2004.  UPC and Chello were the first triple play assets launched in Europe and Chello was considered among many trade and business publications – including Forbes and Time Magazine – to be among Europe’s hottest brands as it pioneered cable broadband distribution in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  UGC followed that same model into Asia and Latin America.  These business groups have grown enormously over the years and now produce over 8.7 billion USD of operating income today and more than 18 billion USD of revenue.

The key corporate strategic, financial and operational management and much of the key local operational management and partnerships were developed under Mark’s direction.  This includes the current CEO, CFO, President and CSO of Liberty Global, whom were all hired by Mark.

Besides building the largest cable and one of the largest satellite portfolios outside of the United States, Mark led United in pioneering media investments and acquisitions such as SBS, one of Europe’s largest broadcast groups, (UPC was its largest shareholder until sold to KKR in 2006), Discovery Europe, HBO Eastern Europe, IPS in Spain, Extreme Sports, Reality Television, MGM International, Zone Vision, MTV Poland, Canal Plus Holland, Sport 1, Film 1 and Club among others.  These channels and content investment served to secure the success of the United distribution properties, while building significant stand alone value. These channels serve hundreds of millions of customers around the world.

Since 2004 and following his departure from Liberty Global Inc. in 2005, Mark has been investing personally and with other entrepreneurs in new business, serving on boards as well as continuing to provide consultancy support to Liberty Global and other clients on large acquisition targets.  New investments are being made in media and communications distribution, content and technology – often using his investment holding company Schneider Media.

Mark is very focused on emerging markets especially an Eastern African TMT fund called ATMT, which controls Wananchi Group Holdings (WGH as referenced above).  Wananchi controls a large, rapidly developing fibre, satellite, and content delivery and communications service delivery group of companies to consumer end and business organisations.  Cable television and broadband services are key to Wananchi’s development, however the company is developing long haul fibre and satellite integration to meet customer demand in a rapidly changing African environment. Mark is Chairman of the ATMT fund manager EACP and is Vice Chairman of the Operational Group Wananchi.  Additionally Mark has invested in Music Choice, Short Films International, Ginx (Games) and Ricall (internet based music licensing market); and is developing various other TV and internet content opportunities. Mark is involved as an investor and board member of Phorm a predictive internet advertising and content group.

To raise capital for substantial distribution investments Mark not only invests personally but also brings in partners such as Liberty Global, Altice, Apollo, Oppenheimer Group, Disney, Time Warner and many other well known private investment organisations and family offices for equity investment.  Mark has worked with most of the major banks in the world of telecom and media finance.  Recently Mark has worked with DFO organisations such OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation, USA) and EDC (Economic Development Canada).  He has also advised investment funds such as Silverlake Partners, Cyrte and Global Family Partners on their investments.

Mark has served on several public and private company boards in over 20 countries around the world, including United Artist Entertainment, UIH, United Global Com, UPC, SBS Broadcasting and Blockbuster Video at various times.  He has been a member of the World Economic Forum for many years and also remains a member of the International Board for the Museum of TV & Radio.  He also serves on a number of charitable foundation boards.

Mark Schneider was born in 1955 in Wyoming, grew up in western USA and lived many years in Colorado.  He is married and lives in London with his wife and family.