How Former Crestron Exec Vin Bruno got the CEO Job at CEDIA
Bruno beat out more than 60 qualified candidates to land top job at CEDIA, the trade show for the home technology integration industry.
After an exhaustive four-month search for a CEO, CEDIA selected Vincent Bruno, formerly the marketing director of home automation powerhouse Crestron Electronics.
“He has a vision,” says Dennis Erskine, principal of the integration firm Erskine Group and vice chairman of CEDIA. “He has come up with messaging and concepts and directions we haven’t fully considered but fully agree with.”
Erskine, who worked closely with the search firm Korn/Ferry, says more than 60 qualified candidates survived the first-round cuts. Bruno was one of many candidates who never applied for the position but was actively recruited by Korn/Ferry.
Erskine says it was important to work with an outside search firm, first because of their expertise, but also to remove any biases from the selection process. Korn/Ferry and a select group of CEDIA stakeholders whittled the group down to seven, and then picked the top four candidates to take a peek under CEDIA’s kimono.
Their assignment: Pretend it’s the year 2020 and you’ve been CEO for five years. Where is CEDIA?
“Vin’s presentation was dead-on,” says Erskine, who had no previous relationship with the candidate.
For his part, Bruno tells CE Pro the vetting process was grueling, with several phone interviews and in-person meetings around the country, culminating in a final show-down among the top two candidates before the entire CEDIA board.
The other finalist, we are told, was also aligned with the home technology industry and the custom electronics channel.
Bruno says the custom channel is in his blood.
“Crestron was only my third real job,” he says, “so CEDIA is only my fourth in 31 years. In all those years I’ve been serving this industry. I have never been in a job that hasn’t been in the channel.”
Bruno thinks his long-time channel involvement resonated with CEDIA, but he also thinks his ability to get things done – always with a sense of urgency – appealed to the decision-makers.
He tells me that every time he used the word “execution,” the interviewers lit up.
“I never end my day without returning a phone call or email,” Bruno says. “I may not have the answer but at least I respond that I got your email, thank you, and I’m working on it.”
He explains that Crestron is basically doing a trade show every single day, between traditional expos, design-center events, training sessions and more: “I know how to get things done.”
Another strong selling point was Bruno’s international experience, having nurtured a global marketing organization with 58 people.
Erskine notes, “If you haven’t been involved in international business, there are lots of mistakes you’re going to make. There are different cultures, different laws …. Having someone on board who’s been there, done that, is very important.”
On the international front, he adds, “When you have someone like Vin who can walk into someone’s office in the UK, France or even China – and they know you – it goes a long way.”
In the end, says CEDIA board member and integrator Joe Whitaker, “Vin is a great fit. While I am sure the world would have been impressed with any of the candidates, the vision and direction voiced by Vin was a perfect fit for CEDIA for the next 20 years.”
Bruno’s Vision for CEDIA
Bruno does not officially begin his new job until October 1, but having been exposed to the CEDIA organization for the past four months, and having prepped for his 2020 interview presentation, he can imagine a few possibilities for CEDIA’s future:
- More engagement with a larger community that does not necessarily fit into CEDIA’s existing membership categories (manufacturers, dealers, reps, distributors).
- An effort to “make CEDIA the place where homeowners come to find people to install and integrate.”
- Collaboration with manufacturers to ensure CEDIA personnel and stakeholders understand and stay abreast of technological developments.
Neither Bruno nor Erskine would elaborate more on CEDIA’s future at this time, but the organization will have more to share at CEDIA Expo, October 14-17, 2015 in Dallas.
Erskine says when you walk into the show, you will sense a brand new vibe for CEDIA.
And the New CEO of CEDIA is ... Vincent Bruno from Crestron
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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