Thursday, September 16, 2021

Chris Cox (BBA89) is as Iowa as it gets. He grew up on a farm in south central Iowa near Van Wert and is still active in the family farm. He is also a high-level accounting executive who stays connected with his alma mater and the winner of the 2021 Outstanding Accounting Alumnus of the Year award.

Cox is the senior vice president and chief accounting officer for AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. in the Kansas City, Mo. area.

“Chris is a great example of what an Iowa accounting degree makes possible,” Accounting Department Executive Officer Cristi Gleason said. “Our students can use his career path as an example.”

His secret to career success: “Work hard, be intuitive, and have high integrity.”

“My favorite college memories are undoubtedly football Saturdays. Those were the Hayden Fry days and we had some really good teams. I also remember the comradery—it always felt like family at Iowa. Being able to come from the farm and go to a Big Ten university, get an accounting degree, and go out into the real world was fantastic. I will always cherish my memories from that time.”

Cox has been with AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. for the past twenty-one years. He is currently the senior vice president and chief accounting officer for the 101-year-old movie exhibition company—the largest throughout the world. Cox is part of the senior leadership team for the NYSE listed company headquartered in Leawood, Kansas.

“It’s an exciting business because there's always something new coming—we have new movies to offer our guests every week. Being in the entertainment business has always been fun.”

That said, it’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been rough on movie theatres like so many other industries.

“We shut down all our theatres worldwide with virtually no cash flow for over five months,” Cox said. “It has taken everybody at AMC to make it through to where we are. Our business is still in the recovery phase. The steps we have had to take in the last 18 months are pretty unbelievable.”

Measures include raising over $3 billion in equity and debt capital raising transactions and other liquidity management initiatives that Cox and his team were involved in.

“It’s been quite the experience,” he said of the last year and a half. “What we have learned is that there is still strong desire for the out-of-home entertainment experience.”

Cox served on the Professional Accounting Council from 2003-2011, was the treasurer of the council and has remained involved after his tenure. He has spoken to master’s level classes and at the Tippie Elevate Forum. He was also instrumental in arranging for Tippie Women in Business students to visit executives at AMC offices and helping the college hold an alumni event at an AMC theatre in Kansas City.

Before AMC, Cox was the director of corporate accounting for The Dial Corporation. He began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Kansas City, progressing from audit associate to senior manager.

In addition to his professional pursuits, he is also active in his community, including serving on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.


This story appeared in the 2021 issue of Iowa Ledger.