Deb Honkus Steps Down as CEO of NEP Broadcasting, Kevin Rabbitt Takes on Mantle
Deb Honkus is stepping down as CEO of NEP Broadcasting and taking on the position of Chairman of the Board, the company announced today. Kevin Rabbitt, former President and CEO of GES Exposition Services, will become NEP’s new CEO effective Jan. 25. Honkus, who was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame last month, will remain involved with the company, focusing primarily on key client relationships and providing strategic direction.
“Kevin’s operational and leadership experience is excellent – and that is what we were looking for,” says Honkus. ” I am still going to be intimately involve in NEP working with Kevin. He has a staff of some of the best minds in the industry behind him, we have a great network already, and he is an extremely smart guy who will take the time to listen and learn where he needs to. I think having someone come in with a fresh perspective is a good thing.”
A 30-year veteran of the mobile production industry, Honkus has been with NEP since 1986 when Total Communications Systems (TCS) merged with NEP. Honkus started as GM, later rising to vice president, president, and, finally CEO.
“It is not very often that you get to go into a business and work with a Hall-of-Famer like Deb Honkus,” says Rabbitt. “When I met with Deb and the rest of the team it became clear very quickly that this is an industry leader with very passionate employees. There just aren’t that many opportunities that come along to work at a company like that.”
Rabbitt will assume management and oversight of the day-to-day operations of NEP on a global basis. Rabbitt has served as the chief executive of several companies, most recently as CEO for 3 Day Blinds since 2010. From 2006 to 2009, Rabbitt served as President and CEO of GES Exposition Services (a Viad Corp. company), having previously served as the company’s COO and EVP. GES produces major events and expositions, providing annual services to more than 3,500 tradeshows and 300,000 exhibiting companies globally.
“There are some parallels at NEP to my background running GES. At GES, we were producing world-class events that were mission critical and time sensitive. And our footprint was pretty similar to NEP in that we were in North American and Europe,” says Rabbitt. “On top of that, my passion outside of work has always been sports, so this is a perfect way to bring both my professional background and personal passions together.”
“But there is also a lot for me to learn in the live TV broadcast world,” he continues. “The immediate plan is for me to get immersed in the business. Deb and I will be out meeting the team and our clients. What a great opportunity to go out and learn from the best.”
Before GES, Rabbitt was as a Consultant with Bain and Company and also served as the President and COO of the Texas Ice Stadium in Houston. Named the 2008 Executive of the Year by UNLV College of Hotel Management, Rabbitt is a member of the Young Presidents Organization. He received his Masters in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Managerial Studies from Rice University.
“Our course will stay the same,” adds Honkus. “We are, and will, always remain focused on maintaining our standard of excellence in supporting our clients, offering the most accomplished network of experts and support staff in the industry, providing an unmatched level of resources to our clients around the globe, and driving technology and solutions forward. That’s who we are at the core, and that won’t change.”