50 Innovators of the Year 2021
In a world of overwhelming startups and innovation, taking risks to increase revenue is common. As the marketplace continues to evolve and the demand for fresh ideas and more efficient practices increases, large corporations are leveraging capital and taking calculated risks to diversify portfolios. One of the most reputed and experienced conglomerates is Cox Enterprises, with nearly 50,000 employees, almost $20 billion in revenue and widely recognized national brands including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, and Cox Homelife. Cox remains a values-driven private corporation that can invest in long-term growth strategies outside of its core businesses.
The origin of the company
Cox Enterprises was founded by James M. Cox in 1898 as a company committed to doing the right thing, always. Its purpose is to empower people today to build a better future for the next generation. While the business evolved, the company has upheld this simple yet powerful promise. Today, the company is a global conglomerate with a rich history of building world-class businesses and empowering its employees to grow and make a positive impact. As its primary divisions continue driving new waves of innovation in the communications and automotive industries, Cox is entering additional spaces like cleantech and healthcare to amplify its purpose.The conglomerate continues to invest in long-term growth while remaining a values-driven, private corporation with fourth-generation family leadership.
The pioneer of largest private broadband
Cox Communications is committed to creating meaningful moments of human connection through technology. It is the largest private broadband company in America and has approximately 6.5 million total residential and commercial customers with total revenues of $12.6 billion in 2020. Cox Communications operates six cable systems in 18 states, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia. There are approximately 18,000 nationwide and 355,000 commercial customers. Since 2012, Cox has connected more than 840,000 people to the internet through the Connect2Compete program, most for the first time.
Worldwide Automotive Leader
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning, and using cars easier for everyone. The global company’s 34,000-plus team members include more than 200 locations across a family of brands, including Autotrader®, Clutch Technologies, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto®, and Xtime®.
Driving positive environmental change
As with other responsible companies, Cox believes corporate involvement in driving environmental improvements is critical to addressing climate change. Cox’s national sustainability program, Cox Conserves, has accelerated its zero environmental footprint goals. The new goals are to be carbon and water neutral by 2034, while staying committed to send zero waste to landfills by 2024.
Its key driver for achieving the carbon-neutral goal is to continue focusing on reducing Cox’s energy use (75% of Cox’s carbon footprint), while replacing the energy with renewable sources. The company aims to leverage partnerships for renewable energy procurement and utilize carbon credit generating projects to offset carbon emissions from the use of other fuels.
Cox plans to achieve water neutrality by reducing water consumption by 30% within the company’s facilities and leveraging external partnerships to implement impactful projects that will offset the remaining 70%. Rainwater harvesting, water reclamation, and building water reductions will be used to achieve the 30% reduction within Cox’s facilities. Its water projects promote the availability and quality of clean and safe drinking water while also supporting water-related ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and aquifers. With more than $100 million invested in sustainability and conservation projects, Cox is on track to meet its aggressive goals.
Cox Enterprise’s new ventures
Cox Enterprises, which has made a reputable image in the industry, is still pushing beyond the boundaries of core businesses with investments in adjacent industries and high growth potential markets, such as cleantech, health care, and esports. It has strategically invested in and acquired clean, resource-efficient businesses that provide sustainable energy, food, and water as a part of Cox’s cleantech arm. The company plans to build a multi-billion dollar cleantech business and is almost there with nearly $1 billion invested in sustainable businesses and innovative technologies.
Cox is already pioneering new health care solutions in several areas of its business to create a more patient-centered business model. By integrating diverse resources and pursuing new opportunities via innovation, investment, and partnership, it aims to help improve how patient care is delivered by reducing costs, improving outcomes, increasing access and reducing caregiver burnout.
Cox partnered with Province Inc. in 2018 to form Atlanta Esports Ventures, which owns and operates the Atlanta Reign, a team in the Overwatch League. As esports is on track for rapid and exponential growth, Cox also invested in a Call of Duty League, which kicked off its inaugural season in 2020. Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League have global reach, with city-based teams located across Asia, Europe and North America.
Cox wants to further position Atlanta, where its headquartered, as an incubator for big ideas supported by a healthy venture ecosystem. Since 2016, the conglomerate has introduced a host of programs that make connections, fuel game-changing, technology-powered development, and help businesses of all sizes take their next great leap. It supports Techstars Atlanta, Techstars Social Impact, Engage Ventures, Endeavor, Startup Runway, and many others.
About the Chief Information Officer
Richard Cox is the senior vice president and chief information officer for Cox Enterprises. He provides oversight and direction to corporate IT and business leaders on strategy, standards, and opportunities for data analytics and business intelligence, development and support, infrastructure, security, and technical services.
His career with Cox began in 2013 at Cox Automotive. There he held several leadership positions, including vice president of client performance and vice president of business operations and customer care. He was instrumental in supporting operational transformation and the analytics function across Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. In 2018, Cox was chief operations officer for the City of Atlanta as an executive on loan.
Prior to joining Cox Automotive, Cox was CEO and president of Jones International University as well as vice president of customer experience at Orbitz Worldwide. In this role, he led a team of more than 2,000 employees while transforming the online and offline customer experiences.