9. Scott Sassa
Advisor to the Chairman on Strategic Projects and Business Opportunities
National Broadcasting Company Inc (NBC)
Los Angeles, CA
In a May 2002 NBC reshuffle Scott Sassa was shunted off to the off-line post of advisor to the chairman on strategic projects. Regardless of what that portends for his future at the Peacock Network, Sassa has been impressively swift and sure-footed in his climb up the entertainment business ladder. The charismatic, babyfaced 43-year-old Japanese American has displayed keen instincts about both the media business and the prevailing social climate throughout a 20-year career that began in 1980 at the Rogers & Cowan public relations agency. Since then he has held some of the most interesting and dynamic jobs in a fast-evolving TV industry.
Sassa's crowning achievement was heading up NBC TV as West Coast President from May of 1999 and, before that, as president of NBC Entertainment from October 1998. During that time he is credited with developing and producing the hit series West Wing, Law & Order and Third Watch, all of which debuted in the 1999-2000 season. During his tenure NBC maintained the top overall network ratings spot.
Sassa was hired by NBC in September of 1997 to nominally head up NBC's stations division, but primarily to be groomed to take over and consolidate the two overlapping posts of West Coast president (held by Don Ohlmeyer, an early Sassa mentor) and entertainment president (then held by Warren Littlefield who had been deemed not a viable successor to Ohlmeyer).
Before joining NBC, Sassa worked briefly as COO of Andrews Group and CEO of Marvel Entertainment. His main training ground was Turner Broadcasting System where, over nine years he rose to president of Turner Entertainment Group.
Sassa launched seven networks for TBS and turned them into cable industry leaders. From 1992 to 1996 he headed up those as well as Turner's international entertainment networks in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Sassa was named executive vice president of TNT in 1988. The network's launch, was the largest ever in cable history. Sassa originally joined Turner in 1982 as director of sales promotion and soon became vice president/general manager of the company's Cable Music Channel.
In 1984 he left Turner to serve as vice president of new business development under Don Ohlmeyer at Ohlmeyer Communications. In 1986 he became the first employee hired when Rupert Murdoch began laying the groundwork for his Fox Network. At 26 Sassa sat down with his tiny Mac to write the network's initial business plan. He then managed the fledgling company's advertising, promotions, operations and administration departments.
Scott Sassas was born in 1960 in Los Angeles to nisei parents. At the age of five the family moved to Torrance where he grew up. He likes to devote any free time to his family. His favorite vacation is to take his family to the Four Seasons on the Big Island.
10. Robert Yung
Chief Technology Officer, Enterprise Processors Group
Santa Clara, CA
Robert Yung is the youngest and newest of the trio of boy wonders who have helped Intel become the world's leader in processor chips. Yung strategizes the architecture and development for Intel's lucrative Itanium family of processors used in the highly competitive enterprise servers sector. Before that he was the tech guru for Intel's communications and networking processors. That's impressive for an executive who joined the company in 1998 to create and head up Intel's $50 million China Research Center. Intel management soon spotted Yung's abilities and brought him to Santa Clara in July of 2000. That year he was named one of the "Top 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum.
Even before joining Intel Yung had demonstrated a knack for playing up technology's potential for improving life. As CTO for Sun Microsystems's Asian division, Yung had organized the Cyber Classroom presentation to demonstrate the potential for distance learning to Vice President Al Gore during his 1997 visit to China. A year later Yung organized the Internet Cafe presentation in Shanghai for President Clinton's visit. He began his career as one of Sun's most brilliant researchers. He launched the 64-bit Ultra-SPARC microprocessor program and co-invented the Visual Instruction Set, an extension that adapted SPARC processors for multimedia instruction.
Yung was born in China in 1963. He received his BA, MS and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley. He has authored 83 issued and pending patents in the microprocessor field. He has also published many articles in technical journals and given presenatations at industry conferences. He has been a visiting professor at Berkeley since 1995.
“In 1986 he became the first employee hired when Rupert Murdoch began laying the groundwork for his Fox Network.”