Cable engineering vet Pragash Pillai to exit Altice USA

Pragash Pillai, a cable vet who was named to this year's class of Cable TV Pioneers, is departing Altice USA amid a 'desire to one day lead a company,' CEO Dennis Mathew explained in a companywide memo.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

August 29, 2023

3 Min Read
In addition to Altice USA, Pragash Pillai's cable engineering career has spanned Cablevision Systems, Bresnan Communications and Charter
In addition to Altice USA, Pragash Pillai's cable engineering career has spanned Cablevision Systems, Bresnan Communications and Charter Communications. (Source: Altice USA)

Pragash Pillai, an engineering exec who got his start in cable at Charter Communications more than 20 years ago, is departing Altice USA to pursue the next chapter in his career, Altice USA CEO Dennis Mathew announced in an internal memo obtained by Light Reading. Mathew's memo also outlined several engineering-focused structural changes underway at the New York-based operator.

It's not clear what Pillai's next move will be, but it seems he has some ideas in mind.

"Since late last year, Pragash Pillai has been discussing with me his future plans and his desire to one day lead a company," Mathew explained. "For those of you who know Pragash well, he has deep technical acumen, passion for his people, and personal diligence to drive the business forward, and the time has come where he has decided to pursue this next chapter of his career."

CableFAX first reported on Pillai's plan to leave the company.

Pillai has been serving as EVP and chief technology and information officer at Altice USA for more than seven years, and will stay on as a senior advisor to Mathew through the end of 2023. Since Altice USA acquired Cablevision Systems in 2015, Pillai has been leading in areas such as field operations, customer experience, technology and engineering. Mathew noted that Pillai also has been leading the charge on Altice USA's fiber network upgrade initiative, including the recent launch of symmetrical 8 Gbit/s services, and DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades of some of Altice USA's hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks.

Pillai has also served in high-level engineering roles at Bresnan Communications, a rural cable operator acquired by Charter Communications in 2013. Pillai's cable career goes back to Charter, when he served in various advanced engineering and digital video roles. In addition to working on new video services such as video-on-demand and HDTV, Pillai also was involved in digital simulcast initiatives that were key to Charter's analog-to-digital video transition.

Pillai's career in the industry will be highlighted this fall, when he and 24 others are inducted into the 2023 class of Cable TV Pioneers at an event that coincides with this year's SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Denver. Some might also recall that Pillai was recognized as the SCTE's "Young Engineer of the Year" back in 2002.

Structural changes to CTIO and field ops functions

Mathew, a former Comcast exec who took the helm of Altice USA last fall and is tasked with returning the company to growth, also announced some structural changes underway amid Pillai's coming exit that will divvy up Altice USA's CTIO and field operations functions.

That transition includes the promotion of Luciano Ramos to EVP, chief technology and information officer. Ramos, who reports to Mathew, now has several parts of the company under his purview, including product development and technology, network engineering, corporate enterprise IT, OSS/BSS and app development and the company's NOC teams. Ramos joined Altice USA from Rogers Communications, and is also late of Liberty Global and Liberty Latin America.

Altice USA has also hired Nate Edwards as EVP, field operations, overseeing in-house and contractor field service for the company's fiber and DOCSIS networks, as well as areas including construction, outside plant, inside plant and the company's business operations and compliance teams. Edwards, who also reports to Mathew, most recently served as head of enterprise delivery and operations at Lumen Technologies, and started his career at AT&T.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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