John J. Sie is the founder and former Chairman of Starz Entertainment Group LLC (SEG). Founded in 1991, the Colorado-based company is owned by Liberty Media Corporation and is the parent of 13 premium movie networks, including Starz and Encore. Sie is one of the television industry’s leading figures. In January 2005, Sie stepped down as CEO of SEG, a post he had held since the company was founded, in order to devote more time to his family and philanthropic activities. The same year, Sie and his wife Anna co-founded the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation.
Sie, a native of China, came to the United States at the age of 14 in 1950. He stayed at a Catholic orphanage on Staten Island, N.Y. until he graduated from high school in 1953. He received B.E.E. and M.E.E. degrees from Manhattan College and Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1957 and 1958, respectively. Sie began his professional career in 1958 when he joined the RCA Defense Electronics Division on advanced microwave solid state devices. In 1960, he co-founded and later became chairman and CEO of Micro State Electronics Corp, which later became a subsidiary of the Raytheon Co. In 1972, Sie joined Jerrold Electronics Corp, a subsidiary of General Instrument Co., as General Manager and Sr. Vice President of the Cable Television Division. In 1977, he joined Showtime Entertainment as Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
In 1984, Sie and his family moved to Colorado to join Tele-Communications Inc. (now Comcast and Liberty Media), as Sr. Vice President in charge of strategic planning, programming, marketing, technology, and government relations. Many people consider Sie the father of digital television – in 1989 he submitted the very first white paper on digital High Definition Television (HDTV) to Congress and the FCC that would dramatically change the landscape of television in the United States and the world.
Throughout his professional life, Sie received numerous awards and honors, such as being inducted into the Cablevision Hall of Fame, receiving the International Bridge Builder Award from Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, etc.
Sie is committed to bridging the US-China relationship through mutual understanding, dialogue and respect. He is a member of the prominent Committee of 100 and in 2009 Sie established the SIÉ CHÉOU-KANG Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Sie continues to support the Chinese Executive Media Management Program he helped establish in 2000 at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.
In September of 2008, the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation became the founding donor of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first global institute to encompass basic research, clinical research and clinical care specifically for people with Down syndrome. The mission of the Institute is to eradicate the medical and cognitive ill effects associated with this genetic disorder. The Institute is located at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Center and its partners are the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.