Row 44 appoints new chief commercial officer

Row 44 has announced today that former VEGAS.com CEO Howard Lefkowitz has joined the company as chief commercial officer and will open Row 44’s new Las Vegas office.

Lefkowitz also joined Row 44’s board of directors, whose current members include co-founders John Guidon (CEO) and Gregg Fialcowitz (president), as well as Ed Shapiro (vice-president and partner at PAR Capital Management), and Larry Kellner (former CEO of Continental Airlines and current board member of Marriott International).

As Row 44’s Chief Commercial Officer, Lefkowitz will be responsible for marketing and branding the global provider of in-flight broadband services for commercial airlines. He will also secure content partnerships for Row 44’s unique in-flight walled garden—a menu of broadband services such as on-demand movies, live television, e-commerce and destination services—available to all Wi-Fi enabled passengers, even those who do not pay for full web access. Lefkowitz will also develop new product strategies for Row 44 and the company’s airline partners around the world.

Lefkowitz brings to Row 44 considerable marketing and technical experience in Internet business, television and film. He served as vice president of business development and marketing for Earthlink. He helped Dick Clark Productions bring the first interactive primetime show to network TV and worked with Ted Turner’s WTBS to create that station’s first original show, starring a then-unknown Alex Trebek. A well-respected entertainment industry visionary, Lefkowitz has also consulted for NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox, as well as Warner Bros and MCA/Universal. Lefkowitz was also a senior executive at multichannel retailer HSN, and later served as president of one of the multibillion-dollar company’s subsidiaries.

During his nine-year tenure as president and CEO, VEGAS.com became the most visited and successful site for city hospitality and information on the web. VEGAS.com now receives millions of unique visitors per month and operates back-of-house systems, including box offices, for many of the largest hotels in Las Vegas.

“Howard’s successful track record across multiple industry segments—entertainment, hospitality, back-end systems, user interfaces, destinations, e-commerce and others—makes him a phenomenal addition to Row 44’s management team and our board,” said Row 44 CEO John Guidon. “We will provide our customer airlines the means to revolutionize the services and facilities available to their passengers, and Howard’s incomparable vision, experience and knowledge will prove critical in this endeavor. He represents the next phase in the growth of our business.”

“I’m thrilled to join this innovative and fast-growing company,” said Lefkowitz. “As the only global provider of in-flight broadband flying today, Row 44 offers airlines and their passengers around the world a unique in-flight experience—including bookable hospitality services, on-demand movies and other content, and a host of other broadband services delivered right to a passenger’s Wi-Fi device.”

Lefkowitz continued: “But this world-class company has another unique advantage, which also attracted me—the ability for airlines to brand and price their own passenger broadband services. I understand the value of maintaining a relationship with your customers. Row 44 is unique in ensuring that our airline partners can control the look, brand and price of the broadband services they offer in-flight.”

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