Media executive Jeffrey Bewkes has been one of the most influential figures in U.S. television for more than two decades. Most recently, Bewkes was at the helm of Time Warner, a juggernaut which comprises the likes of HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. studios, TBS, TNT, and the Cartoon Network. Bewkes, who holds an MBA from Stanford, started his career in banking before quickly jumping ship when HBO offered him a job. There, he rose through the ranks and became HBO's CEO in 1995. Bewkes was personally responsible for tripling the company's profits by shifting away from movies and focusing more on original programming like "The Sopranos." Bewkes later used his visionary talents to lead Time Warner into the future by eschewing interests in AOL and publishing in favor of on-demand services that allow customers to access content 24/7. In 2018, Bewkes left Time Warner and now serves on various non-profit boards that benefit from his vast expertise in business.
As an undergraduate at Yale, Bewkes assumed that he would become a reporter. But unlike many of his very goal-oriented classmates, Bewkes also experienced a lot of doubt and anxiety regarding his future. Indeed, one of his Yale classmates recalled him being in love with "lunatic fringe types and free thinkers." Another close college friend remembered that Bewkes spent many of his weeknights not in the library reading, but rather in Linsly-Chittenden Hall watching horror movies at a film exhibition society. While his grades were not fantastic, he still managed to graduate in 1974 with a Bachelor's in Philosophy.
Since graduating, Bewkes has remained attached to Yale, as evinced by his eagerness to return in 2011 to deliver a leadership lecture on his brilliant career and the importance of both emotional and traditional intelligence. Bewkes has also spent over 12 years as a trustee, including serving as chair of the Yale Corporation’s Finance Committee, which allowed him to act as a "sounding board" for university leaders on issues regarding budgeting and fiscal planning. In his role as trustee, Bewkes helped make sure that Yale was developing resources and attracting students and faculty members that were a good fit for the school. In 2018, Yale President Peter Salovey said that Bewkes has been “an indispensable and wise advisor.” He also applauded Bewkes’ understanding of Yale and his world-class financial expertise, which continues to pave the way for the next generation of New Haven moguls.