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09. Frank Batten Jr.

Updated: May 7, 2013 - 4:30 pm

Posted: May 6, 2013

Frank Batten Jr. dropped a few notches from No. 4, but he remains among the top 10 most influential people in Hampton Roads.

Batten is CEO of Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, which remains a dominant force in Hampton Roads. In addition to its media holdings – which include The Virginian-Pilot and Inside Business – the firm also owns Dominion Enterprises, a marketing services and publishing company with nationwide digital assets.

In the past five months, Landmark has sold WTVF NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, Tenn., and the Greensboro, N.C., News & Record. In 2008, the company sold The Weather Channel to NBCUniversal and two private-equity firms for about $3.5 billion.

Its other media companies were put on the market several years ago, but were taken off as the economy turned sour.
The company appears focused on other business ventures. Batten said one of the biggest recent developments is the company’s new Dealer Management System for car dealers.

Dominion Dealer Solutions teamed up with Microsoft for the system, which will allow dealers and manufacturers to “enhance customer experience, increase revenue and profit and drive operational efficiencies,” according to a news release.

Batten, who prefers not to talk about his achievements, comes from one of the most well-known family names in Hampton Roads. His father, the late Frank Batten Sr., was former chairman of then-Landmark Communications.

His mother is Jane Batten. She’s been involved in the Batten Foundation, which donated $40 million to the Slover Memorial Library that’s planned for downtown Norfolk.

Batten Jr. has been involved in newspapers at all levels, including selling ads for the Roanoke Times, writing for the Associated Press and serving as president and publisher of The Pilot, his family’s flagship newspaper.

While his father used to stroll through The Pilot hallways greeting everyone, Batten Jr. has maintained a distance and is known for his privacy. The father was known as a newspaperman. His son has championed the company’s move into the digital world.

Batten is on the board of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors, the Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors, Norfolk Christian School and the ACCESS College Foundation.