John Rigas' appearance as honoree of this year's Walter Kaitz Foundation fundraiser last week in New York was a bit awkward.
The cable industry charity promotes minority hiring, but his Adelphia Communications Corp. is based in whiter-than-white Coudersport, Pa. (where, he noted, there may be 100 black families). Although he was obviously sincere as he recounted his pioneering history in cable (and his seemingly ending segregation at the tiny local movie house he bought in the early '50s), he wasn't proposing lots of new industry diversity initiatives.
In fact, the minority Adelphia executive most prominently featured in the A & E-produced testimonial video has been leaning on him to advance in the company. "I will have to work on that," Rigas said, solemnly.