J. Mack Robinson, the former Gray Television CEO, has died at age 90. An Atlanta media and business force, Robinson’s career endeavors included life insurance, car sales, fashion, banking and broadcasting.
Banking made Jesse Mack Robinson extraordinarily wealthy, and enabled him to acquire what was then Gray Communications, a newspaper and broadcast company, along with Bob Prather in 1993. He became Gray’s president and CEO in 1996.
Robinson stepped down in 2008, at age 85, becoming chairman emeritus. Hilton Howell Jr. took over as chairman and CEO.
“From the very beginning, Mack directed Gray’s management and station staff to focus on localism, news, and communities. His local focus and the evolutionary spirit that he installed became the cornerstones of our company," said Howell, also the son-in-law of Robinson. “Mack will be sorely missed by the countless people he touched and the countless communities that benefited from his commitment to local broadcast service."
Prather, former Gray TV president and Robinson’s partner when they acquired Gray, calls Robinson “one of the smartest guys I’ve ever known”—a fiercely intelligent entrepreneur who was also an extraordinarily decent person. “He was just a real southern gentleman,” says Prather. “Very humble, very courteous, just a gentleman to everyone he ever met.”